Eight Supreme Court justices get it wrong on animal-cruelty videos

It hard to believe that eight Supreme Court justices could vote so unjustly on Tuesday in striking down a federal ban on selling videos depicting animal cruetly.

The New York Times piece on this story contains some very interesting quotes, particularly from Chief Justice John Roberts, who in my view unintentionally supports the ban with a couple of his statements.

Roberts states – “The First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter or its content.”

Wrong, Mr Roberts. Child pornography and similarly evil “expressions” are restricted.

But wait. Roberts tries to counter that argument, as the following paragraph from the story notes:

“” — Chief Justice Roberts rejected the government’s analogy to a more recent category of unprotected speech, child pornography, which the court in 1982 said deserved no First Amendment protection. Child pornography, the chief justice said, is “a special case” because the market for it is “intrinsically related to the underlying abuse.” –“”

Here, inadvertently, Roberts makes the case for the ban. The videos targeted by the ban are “intrinsically related to the underlying abuse” – of animals.

Justice Samuel Alito offered the only reasonable thoughts on the issue with his dissenting vote. Alito also seems to be the only member of the court who understands the consequences of this vote.

But, the majority opinion appears to leave the door open for a new law with a more narrow focus on animal  fighting and so-called crush videos.

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