Court Nixes Ban on Virtual Child Porn

 Posted by on 16 April 2002 at 9:09 am  Uncategorized
Apr 162002

The AP reports:

The Supreme Court struck down a congressional ban on virtual child pornography Tuesday, ruling that the First Amendment protects pornography or other sexual images that only appear to depict real children engaged in sex.

The decision was 6-3, with the major issue for the dissent apparently being the problem of enforcing laws against actual child porn if virtual porn is allowed and the danger to children of feeding the desires of pedophiles.

The opinions don’t seem to be up on Cornell Law site, FindLaw, or Supreme Court site yet. If you find them, let me know. I want to read Thomas’ separate agreement with the majority.

Hooray for free speech!

Update: The case just showed up on FindLaw. Thomas’ concurrence leaves open the possibility that virtual porn could be banned if technology developed to such an extent that it was impossible to determine which child porn involved the abuse of actual minors.

I’m dubious. We wouldn’t ban sex on first dates simply due to the frequent difficulty of distinguishing between acquaintance rape and consensual sex. We wouldn’t ban giving money to strangers just because an accused mugger may be able to successfully claim that the transfer of funds was consensual. In short, we ought not ban non-rights-violations simply because it may be difficult to distinguish them from rights-violations.

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