I believe this is a blow for the First Amendment. Today, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Child Online Protection Act. Also, read COPA's report online. In related news, the Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments regarding a law which requires "filters" to be placed on public library computers. Can any of these laws be written to satisfy constitutional requirements? Julie Hilden of Findlaw.con has already contemplated this issue. Will the U.S. follow Canada's lead by enacting similar anti-porn laws? Despite support in the U.S. for such laws, the Indianapolis model pornography law was struck down as unconstitutional nearly ten years ago. It seems even Canada is rejecting the Dworkin/MacKinnon point of view. Is there any middle ground in this showdown of liberty and equality? Which value should prevail? Are these values really at odds with each other?
In an 8-1 ruling with Justice Stevens dissenting, the U.S. Supreme Court has partially upheld the Child Online Protection Act against objections that by relying on community standards it was unconstitutionally overbroad in violation of the First Amendment. COPA is the 1998 federal law making it illegal to make pornography available to children on the Internet. Passed in the wake of the Court's 1997 ruling striking down the Communications Decency Act but never enforced because of various court injunctions, COPA is still undergoing other lower-court challenges whose merits today's ruling does not address.
Congress is legislating free speech on the internet again. Passed shortly after the Communications Decency Act was thrown out by the Supreme Court, the Child Online Protection Act isn't as broad as the CDA but does it still go too far in an effort to protect children? Shouldn't parents be responsible for their own children?
Third Circuit panel upholds injunction against Child Online Protective Act, says that "community standards" approach doesn't work in 'cyberspace'. Is sanity breaking out in the federal judiciary?