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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Now we see the violence inherent in the system: the Supreme Court appears ready to overturn a law banning depictions of animal cruelty. Because the right of the people to sell videos of people stomping squirrels to death shall never be infringed.

The federal law makes it illegal to make and sell commercially “any visual or auditory depiction” of the killing or serious abuse of a living animal so long as that conduct is illegal.

Deputy U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal, appealing to the Court to reinstate the law, which was struck down by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, explained that Congress intended to shut down “a robust market” for “crush videos” — images of small animals being stomped to death. The law, said Katyal, was a “narrowly targeted restriction.”
According to SCOTUSblog, only Alito, of all people, supports the law as written.
Alito suggested that the law may have accomplished, over its decade on the books, just what Congress had in mind: it had dried up the market for “crush videos,” while not causing a decrease in videos or TV shows about hunting. He told Millett she should be addressing “what’s going on in the real world,” and not focus on hypotheticals like producing foie gras with geese. She replied that, if Congress were to write laws in the First Amendment area, it had to “write with a scalpel and not with a buzz saw.”

But she seemed less sure of her argument when Alito moved on to questions about Congress’ authority, hypothetically, to try to stop human sacrifice by banning its depiction on videos and in other media. She at first said that such a law might be valid if it were “properly drawn” and “narrowly tailored.” As other members of the Court showed some interest in the human sacrifice hypothetical, Millett made further concessions even while not answering directly. First Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and then Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., insisted on a direct response to Alito’s hypothetical. She answered that Congress could legislate in this area, unless it sought to ban the content of such depictions “just because it did not like it.”
(via Washington Independent)