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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Thursday, February 24, 2005

A bomb placed under obscenity laws

More like a delayed-action Messines Ridge, if the decision of District Judge Gary Lancaster of the Western District of Pennsylvania in the Extreme Associates case survives on appeal.

I had rather given up on this case - the spearhead of John Ashcroft's charge against adult porn - ever coming to court. But it was well worth the wait.

On January 20 [1], Lancaster ordered (PDF) the indictment against EA on various obscenity charges be dismissed on the ground that the statutes concerned were unconstitutional as breaching the right to privacy established in the Stanley case.

A Findlaw article discusses Lancaster's ruling. Rather than batter away with the First Amendment - challenging Miller on the ground that community standards could no longer be an appropriate test in the internet age, etc, etc - EA's lawyers argued that the right to privacy established in Stanley was a fundamental one; that the obscenity laws violated that right; that strict scrutiny should be applied; that, following Lawrence v Texas, upholding public morals was no longer a valid state interest; and that the laws were not narrowly tailored to serve other alleged state interests (protection of minors and avoidance of inadvertent adult exposure to the material).

  1. You expect breaking news here?

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