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Author Topic: Supreme Court voids law aimed at banning animal cruelty videos  (Read 6677 times)
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menusux
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« on: April 20, 2010, 07:34:32 AM »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/20/AR2010042001980.html

Washington Post April 20, 2010

Supreme Court voids law aimed at banning animal cruelty videos

"The Supreme Court struck down a federal law Tuesday aimed at banning videos depicting graphic violence against animals, saying that it violates the constitutional right to free speech.

"Chief Justice John J. Roberts Jr., writing for an eight-member majority, said the law was overly broad and not allowed by the First Amendment. He rejected the government's argument that whether certain categories of speech deserve constitutional protection depends on balancing the value of the speech against its societal costs."


There's more to this story at the link-I won't try to dignify it by posting it here.  Angry Angry Angry Angry Angry Angry Angry Angry Angry Angry

ETA-States and local govermental bodies have anti-cruelty laws.  Actions like this are crimes.  Since when does "Free Speech" give carte blanche to commit crime?

Other types of violence are also considered crimes by the same governmental bodies; they include things like child pornography.  This decision could make for arguments re: that being "Free Speech" as well.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2010, 07:41:22 AM by menusux » Logged
macush
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2010, 07:48:55 AM »

Why do I not find this a surprise from this court?  How does videotaping crimes fall under free speech?  I don't understand these people's minds -- nor do I care to.  So I guess you're right -- child porn will be allowed next.

 Angry Angry
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menusux
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2010, 07:58:11 AM »

One step further in thought with this.  It might be possible that the "Free Speech" argument could be applied as a defense tactic for other crimes.

Example-Mr. X hates his neighbor Mr. Y, so Mr. X kills Mr. Y.  Mr. X's lawyers try to justify the killing by claiming that Mr. X was merely acting out his right of "Free Speech" and his right to his opinion of Mr. Y.
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3catkidneyfailure
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2010, 08:30:09 AM »

From the same Washington Post article:

David Horowitz, executive director of the Media Coalition, said in response to the ruling: "We are gratified that the justices soundly rejected the government's invitation to create a new exception to the First Amendment. As today's ruling demonstrates, if the Court were to rewrite the First Amendment every time an unpopular or distasteful subject was at issue, we wouldn't have any free speech left. We continue to believe that animal cruelty is wrong and should be vigorously prosecuted, but as the Court today found, sending people to prison for making videos is not the answer."

The Media Coalition is an association that defends First Amendment rights and represents U.S. publishers, booksellers and producers and retailers of movies, videos, video games and other recordings.

The Humane Society of the United States said it was disappointed by the ruling but found hope in the majority's statement that it was not deciding whether a narrow statute targeting "crush videos" might be constitutional.

"The Supreme Court's decision gives us a clear pathway to enact a narrower ban on the sale of videos depicting malicious acts of cruelty, including animal crush videos and dogfighting," Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement. "Congress should act swiftly to make sure the First Amendment is not used as a shield for those committing barbaric acts of cruelty, and then peddling their videos on the Internet."


The Supremes all but drew a road map here on how to get this kind of video outlawed. One thing I'm noticing personally more and more in animal rights legislation is its broad coverage relating to all issues and trying to fix everything at once. The change.org animal rights petition went down I believe because it tried to cure farm animal welfare issues and companion animal treatment in the same broad statement, pleasing neither group of advocates. If one can get over the basic injustice of letting a convicted slob make videos under the guise of Freedom of Speech (a not unimportant concern in other areas), there is a major hint here: Try again with narrower focus. Law is ever evolving, not fixed or static. New cases change it.

Someone with a legal background better than mine needs to look carefully at how snuff videos were outlawed.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2010, 09:16:12 AM by 3catkidneyfailure » Logged
3catkidneyfailure
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2010, 08:30:51 AM »

Supreme Court Overturns Anti-Animal Cruelty Video Law
Ruling draws praise from free speech advocates, condemnation from animal rights activists
By Lisa, Wade McCormick
ConsumerAffairs.com

April 21, 2010
Read more:
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2010/04/scotus_animal_cruelty.html
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JJ
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2010, 12:22:11 PM »

Maybe another law needs to be written. One that would state if your filming animals being subjected to torture, cruelty, etc. that are already in a facility for processing into the food that ends up in the grocery stores - then people should know the companies they buy from condone such actions by their companies and the people they employ. That should be grounds for prosecution. Now as far as the other people taping the crushing, torture of a personal pet/animal in their own homes - their should be no such thing as free speech. What voice do these animals have - none. The new law should prosecute on the grounds of cruelty, torture, depriving an animal of the right to live with these people paying a hefty fine and doing community service for the rest of their lives.
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3catkidneyfailure
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2010, 02:30:47 PM »

Animal Legal Defense Fund wrote a brief in this case as a Friend of the Court. As of April 21, they're looking
at what needs to be written according to their website. I know it doesn't help much because of what is
morally right here. But it's the best that can be done now, to rewrite a new federal law ASAP, because there is
no court higher to appeal to. So many animals get hurt every day. You just have to keep trying.

http://www.aldf.org/article.php?id=1327
"ALDF’s attorneys are analyzing the decision carefully to evaluate how to respond to the overturning of Section 48. We will provide a more detailed summary of the opinion on the ALDF blog in the coming days.

Because the Supreme Court is the country’s highest court, it has the final say on the law’s constitutionality, and no further appeals are possible. However, the Court’s opinion leaves open the possibility of introducing to Congress a new, narrower law "limited to crush videos or other depictions of extreme animal cruelty." We will let our members know as soon as possible how they can help. In the meantime, please visit ALDF’s Action Alerts page to see how you can fight cruelty now."
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JoMax
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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2010, 03:08:12 PM »

I'm sorry, but what does the right to free speech have to do with it?  Where does that transmute into a right to watch torture & killing - Its got *** all to do with self-expression.  I just dont get it.

Like to video some of its supporters being subjected to same - would I have a right to that?
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3catkidneyfailure
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« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2010, 03:21:14 PM »

Stevens, the defendant who appealed his conviction, was sentenced for filming dog fighting, I believe. The law
that was struck down included, for lack of a better term, deviant fetishes, dog fighting, and videos of
hunting that was legal where the hunting video was made. By incorporating so many types of animal cruelty,
it was the collective thought of seven members of the Supreme Court that the law was too broad and infringed on the rights of video makers and viewers to decide what to film and what to watch. I think that's the theory, without being a lawyer. So for now at least the really despicable videos are again being made and are legal again.
I believe human snuff videos are illegal, and I'd hope lawyers rewriting this animal cruelty law would write the
same statues for animals and get this passed very, very quickly.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2010, 03:24:07 PM by 3catkidneyfailure » Logged
3catkidneyfailure
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« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2010, 07:28:22 AM »

Much better explanation from an animal rights lawyer of the Stevens case decision and free speech:

http://aldf.org/article.php?list=class&type=7&class=20

Clarifying the Supreme Court's United States v. Stevens Opinion

Posted by Matthew Liebman, ALDF Staff Attorney on April 21st, 2010
In light of recent comments, questions, and Facebook posts, I thought I’d take a moment to clarify some misconceptions about the Supreme Court’s opinion in United States v. Stevens. I appreciate and sympathize with the anger many people feel about the decision, and I wish the Court’s decision had gone the other way. But I think we owe it to ourselves to avoid feeling anger and despair unnecessarily. And misreading the Stevens case causes unnecessary despair. The real plight of animals is horrific enough without subjecting ourselves to the added stress that results from an alarmist description of the Stevens case. It’s important to honestly assess the case and what it did and did not actually say.

First, the Supreme Court did not hold that committing animal cruelty is protected by the First Amendment. Criminal animal cruelty was illegal before Stevens and it remains illegal after Stevens. The case had almost nothing to do with the legitimacy and enforceability of the local, state, and federal laws that protect animals. Rather, the case focused solely on the government’s ability to prohibit the depictions of cruelty themselves. Someone who abuses animals cannot avoid criminal liability simply by videotaping that cruelty. For example, dogfighters who videotape fights can still be prosecuted under the criminal cruelty laws for dogfighting, even though they can no longer be prosecuted for selling the videos, at least for now. Undoubtedly, Section 48 was an important tool for stopping animal cruelty that was produced for the sole purpose of being sold, and the Court took away that tool. But it did not equate animal cruelty itself with free speech.

Second, the Supreme Court did not hold that crush videos or animal fighting videos are protected by the First Amendment. Instead, the Court specifically reserved that question, holding only that Section 48 as written was too broad and extended to other kinds of speech that are protected. A law that criminalized the commercial creation, sale, or possession of just crush videos or animal fighting videos might still pass constitutional muster, and it is clear that that is the way forward for the animal protection movement. The Animal Legal Defense Fund and other animal protection groups are urging Congress to pass a narrower law that focuses on these extreme forms of animal cruelty.

Third, the Court did not say that preventing animal cruelty is an unimportant goal. The Court could have held that the prevention of animal cruelty is not a compelling government interest, throwing the legitimacy of hundreds of animal protection laws into doubt. In fact, that’s what some of us feared would happen, especially after the lower court based its decision in part on those grounds. A holding from the highest court in the land that animal protection is less than compelling could have been devastating. But the Court did not go that route, despite the clear opportunity to do so. 

My point is not that we aren’t entitled to feel upset or disappointed by the Stevens decision. We are. But we shouldn’t burden ourselves with an unduly pessimistic view of the state of animal law. I see Stevens as a setback, but it’s also an important marker of how far we have come: not only did we win a vote from Justice Alito, but we also convinced the other eight Justices to leave open the possibility that a more fine-tuned law could be constitutional.

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JJ
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« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2010, 03:08:45 PM »

Good post w/explanation 3cats. Now should a law ever be enacted. Anyone buying, watching, participating in such videos is nothing but scum. And snuff videos are illegal but they are still sold and made. Those who derive whatever from viewing are a bunch of sick, twisted scum.
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3catkidneyfailure
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« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2010, 04:43:23 PM »

This is I believe I federal law you might want to write your representatives about:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/unleashed/2010/04/animal-cruelty-videos-law-supreme.html

Local congressman introduces new bill to stop the sale of animal cruelty videos
April 21, 2010 |  6:20 pm
[sensitivity caution]

The legislation comes a day after the court, in an 8-1 decision, overturned the conviction of a Virginia man prosecuted under Gallegly's "Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act" for selling dog-fighting videos. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the 1999 law was too broad and could allow prosecutions for selling hunting videos.

By Wednesday, Gallegly and Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.), co-chairmen of the Animal Protection Caucus, had written the new law and, within a couple of hours, lined up 55 of their colleagues, from both parties, as co-sponsors.

"Violence is not a 1st Amendment issue; it is a law enforcement issue," Gallegly said in a letter to colleagues. "You are not allowed to cry ‘fire' in a theater; you are not allowed to possess or distribute child pornography. You shouldn't be able to create and distribute videos that glorify the senseless killing of defenseless animals."
« Last Edit: April 22, 2010, 04:46:10 PM by 3catkidneyfailure » Logged
3catkidneyfailure
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« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2010, 10:06:37 AM »

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2010/07/cong_crush_videos.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+consumeraffairs%2FSXJd+%28ConsumerAffairs.Com+News+%26+Alerts%29

House Approves Bill To Stop Sale of Crush Videos
Measure expected to overcome Supreme Court objections
 
By Lisa Wade McCormick
ConsumerAffairs.com
The House on Tuesday -- by a 416 to 3 bi-partisan vote -- approved the narrowly-crafted H.R. 5566, which gives law enforcement the tools needed to crack down on people who traffic videos that show such barbaric acts ...


Sensitivity caution. You may for sure want to write your Senators about how you expect to see their swift passage of this House bill.
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JJ
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« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2010, 01:16:38 PM »

Good. If any volunteers are needed to give these scum a taste of their own medicine.......
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3catkidneyfailure
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« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2010, 02:04:08 PM »

Ah, come on, JJ, you could no more hurt a person [even if they are scum] than you could an animal. So how about writing your Senators instead, please, and urging them to make this law of the land ASAP.
More of these hateful videos are made every day, and it needs to be illegal and stopped.
Get online or pick up computer and paper and ink for the printer and do it this weekend!
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