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Author Topic: First Amendment topic paper  (Read 3045 times)
Kathryn Rubino
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Posts: 45


« on: April 20, 2010, 10:46:45 AM »

Attached please find a controversy paper written by myself and Joe Patrice on limiting First Amendment freedoms.

Thank you,
Kathryn

* 1Atopicpaper.docx (134.53 KB - downloaded 616 times.)
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Kathryn Rubino
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Posts: 45


« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2010, 12:07:33 PM »

Of course a 1A case comes out the day after I submitted the topic paper, but it would be topical under my first resolution recommendation and I believe, should the paper win, the committee should include area of animal cruelty in their deliberations, specifically the case below:

U.S. v. Stevens, 08-769, (April 20, 2010)

The Court in a 8-1 decision held that portrayals of animal cruelty should not be added to the list of prohibited speech that is unprotected by the First Amendment thereby striking dow a federal law that criminalized the production and sale of videos and other depictions of animal cruelty.  In arguing in favor of the law the government had advocated the area of animal cruelty deserved no protection under the First Amendment, in a similar to how child pornography received no free speech protections.  Justice Roberts, writing for the majority found the law to be overbroad because the law punished "any depiction" in which "a living animal is intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed" without the requirement that such a depiction be cruel.  The Court did point out however, this was not a ban on the ability of the federal government to animal cruelty but was specific to speech acts.  Additionally, the Court left open the possibility that congress may have the authority to ban "crush videos," as the SCOTUS blog notes:
Quote
While the Court conceded that Congress had passed the law to try to stop interstate trafficking in so-called “crush videos,” showing the actual killing of cats, dogs and other small animals by stomping or other intensely cruel methods, it said the resulting law itself reached far more than that kind of portrayal.  Limiting the law’s reach to those depictions, the opinion said, would require the Court to give “an unrealistically broad reading” to the exceptions Congress wrote into the law.
http://www.scotusblog.com/2010/04/first-amendment-left-intact/

Obviously the literature on this case is still developing, but here are some additional sources that may be of interest:
http://www.scotuswiki.com/index.php?title=United_States_v._Stevens
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/judicial/2010-04-20-animal-cruelty-supreme-court_N.htm
http://www.leagle.com/unsecure/page.htm?shortname=insco20100420000t
http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/news.aspx?id=22854

Thanks to Ryan Galloway for bringing the decision to our attention.
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