The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Sunday, September 12, 2004

Pennsylvania net-blocking law blown out of the water

The latest populist assault on free speech to be sunk by the Federal judiciary: the monstrously cheeky Pennsylvania law allowing the state government to direct ISPs to block access to child pornography (last discussed here on June 28) has been struck down on First Amendment and Commerce Clause grounds in Center for Democracy and Technology v Pappert.

District Judge Jan Dubois found for the plaintiffs on all points [1], save whether the correct First Amendment standard to apply was strict scrutiny or intermediate scrutiny [2]. The bad news for Pennsylvania was that she decided that, applying either test, the law infringed the First.

So far as I'm aware, Pennsylvania is the only state to have a law like this; presumably, that makes it unlikely that, whatever the result of the (presumed) appeal, the Supreme Court would take it on. Though the current panel would no doubt remand it, so what's the diff...

  1. Her opinion and much other documentation in the case available here.

  2. The argument (p82ff) was that intermediate scrutiny applied because the Pennsylvania law, on its face, was regulating unprotected speech - ie, child porn - and affecting protected speech only as a by-product (US v O'Brien (391 US 367)).

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