Sour Grapes
Of course we're Fair and Balanced!

2004-06-29

Supremes deliver another victory for the 1st Amendment



In its 5-4 decision of Ashcroft v. ACLU, the Supreme Court struck down the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), Congress' most recent attempt to protect minors from sexually explicit material on the Web, enacted after the same Court struck down the Communications Decency Act of 1996, "Congress' first attempt to make the Internet safe for minors by criminalizing certain Internet speech." Some other of the "juicy bits":




When plaintiffs challenge a content-based speech restriction, the Government has the burden to prove that the proposed alternatives will not be as effective as the challenged statute.... The purpose of the test is to ensure that speech is restricted no further than is necessary to accomplish Congress´┐Ż goal....



Important practical reasons also support letting the injunction stand pending a full trial on the merits. First, the potential harms from reversal outweigh those of leaving the injunction in place by mistake. Extraordinary harm and a serious chill upon protected speech may result where, as here, a prosecution is a likely possibility but only an affirmative defense is available, so that speakers may self-censor rather than risk the perils of trial.... By allowing the preliminary injunction to stand and remanding for trial, the Court requires the Government to shoulder its full constitutional burden of proof respecting the less restrictive alternative argument, rather than excuse it from doing so....




My own question, as always is, "What part of 'no law' in 'Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech' does Congress not understand?"



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