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Federal Obscenity Rule Nixed In Internet Porn Case

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the this-sounds-ripe-for-ussc dept.

Censorship 832

CaptainEbo writes "A court has declared the federal anti-obscenity law unconstitutional in a criminal case against an Internet porn distributor: 'We find that the federal obscenity statutes burden an individual's fundamental right to possess, read, observe, and think about what he chooses in the privacy of his own home by completely banning the distribution of obscene materials.' The court's decision rested in part on Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court case striking down anti-sodomy laws. Under Lawrence, said the court, 'upholding the public sense of morality is not even a legitimate state interest.'"

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832 comments

GNAA mours the passing of Johnny Carson, the Jew (0, Troll)

Michael the thief (850461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449057)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Actor/Commedian Johnny Carson was found dead in his Burbank, California home this afternoon. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in Hollywood will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Carson was Jewish? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449106)

That's news to me. He once offered me a bacon sandwich in Vegas. Someone jewish wouldn't have done that!?

Re:GNAA mours the passing of Johnny Carson, the Je (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449215)

So sad. At least he rest at peace along with *BSD.

LAST PIST! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449058)

GNAA rules!

Faggots are ruining this country. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449060)

Gay is not okay.

Porn? Who needs it?! We have Ceren! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449062)

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about time (4, Insightful)

lordkuri (514498) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449067)

upholding the public sense of morality is not even a legitimate state interest.

it's about fucking time! I'm getting so sick of these self-righteous jackasses that seem to think I have to live my life according to *their* beliefs.

Re:about time (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449083)

...upholding the public sense of morality is not even a legitimate state interest...

it's about fucking time!

Exactly!

I'm with you here. (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449101)

Gotta love states with constitutions [house.gov] that promise freedom of speech/the press/etc. [house.gov] while said freedoms are being bashed heavily.

Granted, it's porn...but is it really their--or our--business what people get off with?

Re:I'm with you here. (4, Insightful)

lordkuri (514498) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449137)

it doesn't matter if it's porn or whatever... the judge summed it up perfectly. It is not the right nor the job of government to tell an adult person what they can see/think/read, and anything of the sort *is* an infringement on my liberties.

I also find it pretty funny that the bible-thumping types that are always so vocal about porn had a conference in some hotel a while back, and that hotel reported a 600% increase of their in-room porn rentals over that weekend... pot, meet kettle.

Re:I'm with you here. (4, Insightful)

Tassach (137772) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449166)

I also find it pretty funny that the bible-thumping types that are always so vocal about porn had a conference in some hotel a while back, and that hotel reported a 600% increase of their in-room porn rentals over that weekend... pot, meet kettle.
While this does play into my personal stereotype of fundies being sexually repressed hypocrites, I'd need to see some documentation before I accept it as being true. Any sources for this fact?

Re:I'm with you here. (-1, Troll)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449298)

Fundies are generally horrible people because horrible people are ATTRACTED to radical beliefs. A lot of fundies are criminials, sex offenders, gang members. They *NEED* the strong discipline that fundamentalism provides. That and fat chicks, seriously. The fatter and more unattractive a girl, the more religious she is. This is not a troll, I have quite a lot of experience with baptists.

Its the same thing with violent vidoegames, violent people are attracted to them.

Re:I'm with you here. (4, Funny)

ilsa (197564) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449240)

I also find it pretty funny that the bible-thumping types that are always so vocal about porn had a conference in some hotel a while back, and that hotel reported a 600% increase of their in-room porn rentals over that weekend... pot, meet kettle.

That's just research. They need to be able to make educated opinions about porn, after all. ;-)

Re:I'm with you here. (4, Insightful)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449254)

"It is not the right nor the job of government to tell an adult person what they can see/think/read, and anything of the sort *is* an infringement on my liberties.
"
you forgot one.....

ingest. It's none of their business what I put into my body either.

Re:I'm with you here. (2, Insightful)

Tassach (137772) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449234)

Granted, it's porn...but is it really their--or our--business what people get off with?
No, as long as the all the participants are adults who are capable of, and have given, informed consent.

Re:I'm with you here. (2, Interesting)

PoopJuggler (688445) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449244)

Granted, it's porn...but is it really their--or our--business what people get off with?

It is their business if the majority of the people in this country feel that's the way the laws should read, and the appointed judges don't disagree. It sounds like the majority is slowly moving away from this sort of morality-based thinking, but it is the government's business to do what the people tell it to do, even if that conflicts with your personal beliefs. Remember this country was founded by heavily religous people and most of the population still is, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that in general our laws are very conservative..

Re:about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449122)

Yeah those Neocon scum need to look at this

Re:about time (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449159)

fucking neocons suck shit. They need to look atthis! [arale.com]

Re:about time (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449175)

it's about fucking time! I'm getting so sick of these self-righteous jackasses that seem to think I have to live my life according to *their* beliefs.


Exactly. I can't wait until the drinking age is lowered to 18, and the handgun ownership age is lowered to the same. And Concealed carry laws get revoked. And it will be great when my tax money stops going into Social Security and welfare and medicare. And it will be GREAT when schools no longer teach my children that sex before marrige is OK, or that homosexuality is even remotely acceptable.

Re:about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449248)

I am going to assume that your comment is an attempt at sarcasm since you cannot possibly equate watching two consenting adults have sex in front of a camera with the litany of items you have listed here.

Re:about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449253)

And it will be GREAT when schools no longer teach my children that sex before marrige is OK, or that homosexuality is even remotely acceptable.

Too true. It isn't the school's job to have any opinion on those matters,

Re:about time (1)

PoopJuggler (688445) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449189)

You have to live your life by the rules that the vast majority decide on, whether or not they concur with YOUR beliefs. That's the nature of this country, and the price of living here. Nobody wants to live by other peoples' beliefs, not them by yours and not you by theirs. Everybody is "self-righteous" when it comes to their own beliefs. Why is forcing your belief in some non-morality-based law system on everyone less self-righteous? Neither of you is right nor wrong.

Re:about time (4, Insightful)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449266)

You miss the point. In a free country, people with different beliefs can co-exist, and do what they want as long as they don't infringe on the rights of others. Having a democratic totalitarian state is not the only possibilty, and it is certainly not one that the U.S. should choose.

Re:about time (2, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449279)

The problem is that people will increasingly tailor laws to restrict behaviour that has no bearing on them whatsoever because it offends their beliefs somehow. Basically antisodomy, antifornication, antidrinking, antidrug, and antipornography laws all fit the bill for many of these people. It doesn't matter that they don't engage in any of these activities, they don't want anyone else to engage in them either, even when these activities don't have any victims by definition. By converse, I don't do what these people do (congregate and evangelize about their invisible best friend who sees all, knows all, and needs money) but I don't work toward prohibiting them from doing so, and I don't tell them that they have to be like me. I simply want them to let me do what I want to do so long as I don't victimize anyone in doing it. That's the very important difference.

The difference (5, Interesting)

Monx (742514) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449285)

I don't tell [insert moralizing group here] that they have to [insert activity that group dislikes]. Many of them like to tell me that I can't [same activity from previous sentence].

Take student prayer for example. A law that says you can't pray is wrong. A law that says you must pray is also wrong. A law that says you can pray if you want to but no government employee in authority over you is allowed to influence that decision one way or another is ok, but redundant.

By wrong I mean unconstitutional and anti-freedom. By redundant I mean that it is already in the constitution, so why write another law?

Re:about time (1)

rhakka (224319) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449294)

Because one viewpoint, that government should not restrict adult's private behaviour unless they are harming someone else, still allows people with more rigid moral doctrines to live their lives unaffected; they simply can't have the government prefilter reality for them, they have to actually do it themselves, for themselves and their families, which is possible.

The other viewpoint is not at all tolerant of the previous, because if government does prefilter ideas and content for adults, I no longer have a choice.

That is the basis of superiority for the get the government out of the action arguement. I can watch porn in my bedroom without it affecting you, but you can't have porn banned without it affecting me.

Re:about time (1)

defile (1059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449277)

My sentiments exactly.

Maybe one day we can apply this thinking elsewhere and stop encroaching other freedoms. I look forward to the day when I don't have to look underground to find doctors who don't want to listen to the AMA, people to design my buildings that don't have to suck the teet of the AIA, lawyers who aren't constrained in representing me by rule of the bar association, etc.

And maybe one day, just one day, I won't need to grovel on my hands and knees to be granted the "privilege" of driving a motor vehicle, and say please and thank you to a cop who threatens to get it revoked.

But hey, getting them out of my fuckin' bedroom, or, in this case, out of what I do at my desk, is a fine start.

Re:about time (2, Interesting)

rhakka (224319) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449314)

I agree with everything you said except the motor vehicle deal. You can label drugs as FDA approved or not and let people make choices that affect them, or let people choose doctors to make educated choices about them.

However, labelling cars is not helpful and it is a serious public health risk to have unqualified drivers on the road.

Have Penis will travel (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449068)

Got laid off as a Java programmer and am willing to work "hard". Hetero stuff only, none of that gay shit.

willard.mosley.jr@hotmail.com.

Thanks.

good reasons (5, Insightful)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449069)

If it were a legitimate state interest, then we would need laws banning sloth and greed, too, and no one here in the U.S. really wants that.

Re:good reasons (1)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449216)

So murder is a legal not moral position?

Re:good reasons (5, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449262)

Yes, murder is a crime against the state, as it deprives the state of taxpayers.

Re:good reasons (1)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449274)

The state has a legitimate interest in preventing citizens from murdering one another. Therefore, laws against murder have a legal foundation. Does the state have a legitimate interest in preventing masturbation? I think not.

The hard question is whether the state has a legitimate interest in preventing excessive wealth and poverty. I think it may, but when you argue against people who do not think it does, you find that they have fundamentally different ideas about what the state is for.

Rob Black is scum (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449071)

He once planned to feed a live dog to his snake for publicity for a wrestling event.

Re:Rob Black is scum (1)

djplurvert (737910) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449144)

Oh that's TERRIBLE!!! I've heard that some people line up cows and shoot them in the head just so they can eat hamburgers. What kind of a world do we live in?

Re:Rob Black is scum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449182)

There's a big difference between killing an animal to eat it and killing it for publicity. In the United States, killing dogs is not considered normal.

Re:Rob Black is scum (1)

djplurvert (737910) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449200)

Oh, have you asked the animals whether THEY think there is a difference?

Re:Rob Black is scum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449225)

Yes, and they assure me that there is. The understand the cycle of life.

Also, they're excellent singers for the most part.

Re:Rob Black is scum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449306)

Who gives a fuck about herbivores?

Yay for free speech... (1)

peasleer (806038) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449075)

...and also the simultaneous realization of the courts. Morality really isn't something that should be legislated.

Re:Yay for free speech... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449086)

So we should legalize murder?

Re:Yay for free speech... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449113)

But it *is* legal! Come and join the army. Have fun slaughtering some ragheads! There's enough of them!

Re:Yay for free speech... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449125)

How about we just make it illegal for morons like you to make stupid generalizations like that? There's a difference, however slight, between porn and murder. How many people died the last time you looked at porn?

Re:Yay for free speech... (3, Insightful)

CaptainEbo (781461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449126)

That's not what this case says. Laws prohibiting murder are passed under the "police power" which allows states to regulate in order to preserve the "health and safety" of individuals. In other words, murder laws are health and safety laws, not morality laws.

Re:Yay for free speech... (1)

Eric119 (797949) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449284)

And what's so good about the health and safety of individuals? Ultimately, these laws are still based on morality.

Re:Yay for free speech... (1)

clone22 (252516) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449327)

So the next approach in legislation may follow a health and safety angle, and use the risk of AIDS, herpes, and other STDs that the thespians may be subject to acquiring through performance of their craft.

Re:Yay for free speech... (1, Insightful)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449155)

If murder didn't harm anybody, you could:

When you look at porn, your not restricting anybody elses freedoms. When you kill somebody, your restricting somebody elses freedom to live.

Re:Yay for free speech... (1)

theWrkncacnter (562232) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449243)

No, because murder infringes on the rights of someone else. Internet porn does not infringe on someone else's rights, at least not a basic right, such as life, liberty or property.

Re:Yay for free speech... (0)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449258)

Morality really isn't something that should be legislated.

Virtually all criminal law is the legislation of someone's morality.

Can't steal because it's amoral.
Can't murder because it's amoral.
Can't have sex with children because it's amoral.
Can't attack people on the street because it's amoral.

LK

Re:Yay for free speech... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449269)

"Amoral" means "without morality", you mean "immoral" i.e. "contrary to morality".

A tiger is amoral. A politician is immoral.

Re:Yay for free speech... (2, Insightful)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449309)

Can't steal because it involves violating someone's rights.

Can't murder because it involves violating someone's rights.

Can't have sex with children because it is an abuse of the obligations of authority.

Can't attack people on the street because it involves violating someone's rights.

Decent laws are written with protecting rights in mind. These laws are wholely separate from laws written with preventing the "offending of polite sensibilities."

Re:Yay for free speech... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449303)

Are you really so stupid as to believe the a government does not regulate morality ?

The only thing a government can regulate in the form of laws is morality.

Are you really saying that our prohibition on murder is not a moral one ?

How stupid are you ?

My Reaction. (3, Funny)

neoshroom (324937) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449077)

Fuck yeah!

Re:My Reaction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449142)

America, America America, Fuck Yeah!
Coming again to save the mutherfucking day, yeah
America, Fuck Yeah!
Freedom is the only way, yeah
Terrorists your game is thru, now you have to awnser to
America, Fuck Yeah!
So lick my butt, and suck on my balls
America, Fuck Yeah!
Whatcha going to do when we come for you now?

Its the dream that we all share
Its the hope for tomorrow
(Fuck Yeah!)

McDonalds! (Fuck Yeah!)
Walmart! (Fuck Yeah!)
The Gap! (Fuck Yeah!)
BaseBall! (Fuck Yeah!)
The NFL! (Fuck Yeah!)
Rock and Roll! (Fuck Yeah!)
The Internet! (Fuck Yeah!)
Slavery! (Fuck Yeah!)

Fuck Yeah!

StarBucks! (Fuck Yeah!)
Disney World! (Fuck Yeah!)
Porno! (Fuck Yeah!)
Valium! (Fuck Yeah!)
Reboxx! (Fuck Yeah!)
Fake Tits! (Fuck Yeah!)
Sushi! (Fuck Yeah!)
Taco Bell! (Fuck Yeah!)
Rodios! (Fuck Yeah!)
Bed Bath and beyond! (Um fuck yeah?)

Liberty! (Fuck Yeah!)
Wax Lips! (Fuck Yeah!)
The Alamo! (Fuck Yeah!)
Bandaids! (Fuck Yeah!)
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Books!

More Information from Pittsburgh Sources... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449094)

The case was with a California company, but the Feds decided to try the trial here in Pittsburgh. They thought a federal judge in Pittsburgh would be more conservative than a judge in California, but thought wrong.

Here's more information from our local papers:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [post-gazette.com]

Pittsburgh Tribune Review [pittsburghlive.com]

WTAE-TV [thepittsburghchannel.com]

Re:More Information from Pittsburgh Sources... (4, Insightful)

CrankyFool (680025) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449213)

It's quite probable that a Pittsburgh judge _would_ be more conservative than a CA judge. The mistake the authorities might have made -- and it's a natural mistake you make here also -- is in thinking that 'conservative' is a label applied to people who have conservative social stances only, rather than people who also have conservative judicial stances.

It wasn't too long ago that 'conservatives' were the people who were loathe to add more laws and regulations that interfere with people's ability to do what they wanted, and were arguing we needed a very strong, clear harm to be present in an activity before it was legislated against. These days, the neocons and social conservatives (and Christian Fascists, frankly) have stolen the 'conservative' label and have started to label anyone who doesn't agree with their social policies as a liberal (with the obvious implications that liberals are the ones taking down this country, corrupting our youth, and providing hostelling services to travelling al Queda terrorists, of course).

It's perfectly within reason that a conservative person would find an anti-obscenity law ludicrous and offensive, and it's good that this one did.

Re:More Information from Pittsburgh Sources... (1)

machacker (772227) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449323)

totally agree. traditionally, conservitives have been for less goverment. But, just look what bush has done in the last 4 years. Goverment size and spending has increased tremendsuly. The new-cons of today are nothing like the old conservitives.

Why Pittsburgh is great (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449270)

Freedom of porn, and the soon to be Super Bowl champs the Steelers!
Please, PLEASE, PLEASE do not combine the two previous items however...

Re:More Information from Pittsburgh Sources... (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449289)

They thought a federal judge in Pittsburgh would be more conservative than a judge in California, but thought wrong.

The Feds have obviously never been the south side of Pittsburgh then. I'm going to assume you're a Pittsburgher too because you said "here in Pittsburgh".

But for those out there who aren't from Pittsburgh, The "South Side" is like Pittsburgh's version of "The Village". (New York's village, not that movie) What's really cool about it though is that in addition to all of the wild "progressives" on the south side, you also have a lot of retirees. It makes for an interesting mix.

LK

Pr0n always leading the way... (4, Funny)

TheLoneDanger (611268) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449102)

Pr0n once again leading the way... from techonology to sane legal precedents, pr0n is probably the biggest motivator for change in human history.

Pr0n... is there anything it can't do?

Re:Pr0n always leading the way... (5, Funny)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449158)

Pr0n... is there anything it can't do?

Get you laid.

Re:Pr0n always leading the way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449228)

My wife gets turned on when we watch Pr0n together, so in fact, it does help me get laid.

Re:Pr0n always leading the way... (1)

Silvrmane (773720) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449239)

Actually, hate is the leading motivator. Hate something, change it, make something better. :)

Re:Pr0n always leading the way... (1)

PoopJuggler (688445) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449261)

Pr0n... is there anything it can't do?

Hmm.. it doesn't seem to be able to get me a date. That creepy dude at the dirty video store doesn't count...

Thank You! (1)

johansalk (818687) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449129)

'upholding the public sense of morality is not even a legitimate state interest.'

Tell that to Dubya and Co.

Re:Thank You! (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449150)

You can't telly Shrublet anything. He already knows everything he needs to. After all, he was ordained by God, at least to hear him tell it.

Re:Thank You! (2, Interesting)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449172)

Actually, that is rather ironic, I think. Consider the constitutionality of gay marriage (or marriage in general), for example. I've never actually seen anyone make a case for the government getting involved in marriage that didn't involve somebody's morality or offended sensibilities.

I'd say this case could rather be a more general setback for the "moral" religious right that's pushing so hard for changes right now. Personally, that makes me happy since I don't like it when other people try to FORCE me to be "moral" by their standards (I find it aggravating enough when people try to TELL me to be moral, but hey, it's their free speech).

Re:Thank You! (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449252)

The case for government involvement in marriage was originally made because of sensibilities. Marriage licenses were created to de facto ban interracial marriages. They couldn't make them illegal, but they could deny licenses for any number of reasons.

Personally, I'm against marriage licenses. It's an unconstitutional incursion into what is otherwise a personal religious ceremony between two people.

It's actually a crime for clergy to perform a marriage ceremony without the two individuals being licensed to marry. That's truly sad, and should offend the sensibilities of any person who believes in the religious sanctity of marriage.

Supreme Court ruling needed now (4, Insightful)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449130)

The best thing that could happen now is for this to be appealed to the Supreme Court, to have them grant certiorari, and to find along the same lines as they did in 2003 in Lawrence v. Texas.

It's about time that it's been determined that "public morality" does not extend past public places. Then again, there has been much absurdity in both laws and judicial decisions for as long as there have been laws and judicial decisions.

Hopefully this is the start of a trend that will continue. The major "if" is who GWB will put on the Court after Rehnquist retires/dies. However, with what the Democrats have been doing regarding nominations to any post call into question whether anyone could possibly be confirmed onto the Court. We might just have a vacancy forever, because if the Democrats can do it, so can the Republicans if a Democrat wins in 2008. :)

Re:Supreme Court ruling needed now (1)

JDAustin (468180) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449290)

No, the democrats wont be able to do it like they did the past 4 years. There own minority leader lost his seat because of these actions so the senators from the more conservative states won't liekly go along with this like they did before.

Additionally, the head republican has stated that changing the rules regarding filebusters on nominees is a viable option if this continues.

Re:Supreme Court ruling needed now (2, Insightful)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449338)

I wasn't aware of either of those. Both are good if what you say is true.

It's not that I support Shrublet and his neocons, but filibustering appointments because of political grudges is ludicrous. There's either a valid reason to keep someone out of office or there's not. If there's a valid reason, it should be laid out on the table. If there's not, suck it up, your party lost, try harder next election.

Hell Freezes Over! (2, Insightful)

phaln (579585) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449132)

It's a relief to know that there are still Constitutionally-adhering judges out there looking out for individual freedom rather than the state.

Hmm (2, Insightful)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449139)

const...err...constitution?

that was one of those things they used to have back when everybody worked down the mines in the UK, and walked to work, nine miles up hill, and back nine miles up hill, in the wind and hail, every day, wasn't it?

But seriously, thank god somebody remembers the constitution.

Dangers in aggregation of power to the feds.... (5, Insightful)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449145)

Remember when Republicans were all about not getting involved state issues? (pre-Reagan) What happened is that they have discovered that it's so better to aggregate the power into the hands of the few via legislation and control the populace and impose "morality" that way.

Take the gay marriage issue. Should this REALLY be a federal issue? Of course not and thank heavens that Sen. McCain pointed out that such a federal law would interfere with "state's rights".

Federal anti-obscenity laws aren't any different. What doesn't play in Peoria could be considered as quite tame in NYC.

Re:Dangers in aggregation of power to the feds.... (0)

Belsical (238668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449263)

Actually, it does have an impact on the federal government; specifically, tax breaks and other benefits that married couples receive. I'm for gay marriage, but there's no question that the feds have a stake in this other than morals. I'm kind of surprised they haven't set up any federal mandates yet. Tying restrictions to federal funds seems to get the states in line REAL fast.

Related topic (Censorship) (1)

ScruffyScrode (812789) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449152)

Censorship By Luke Green Our constitutional right to freedom of speech has been under fire for quite some time now, often with the support of the people. This attack is what we call censorship, and it is damaging our society. When was the last time you watched TV show with a bigot yelling profanities at another man with your children? Why? If your answer is that you want to protect them, that is definitely a good answer, but a flawed reason for censorship, as I will attempt to show. It is hardly intelligent to attempt to mandate morality, because what one person may find immoral, another may find completely harmless, and vice versa. For example: showing a man eating a hamburger on television is relatively commonplace. PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals), however, regards this as highly immoral. Does this mean we should ban showings of such things? No, because it is not unanimously agreed that eating animals is immoral. Most people enjoy it every day. The FCC regulates broadcasting in the U.S., often fining broadcasters for "indecent" broadcasts. Certain words are blacklisted, even though not everyone agrees that these words are immoral, and many people use them in everyday conversation. What if suddenly you were disallowed to use words that you feel are completely benign, would you be okay with that? Would you be fine with other people controlling how you communicate? There are many reasons we should have absolute freedom of speech, the clearest of all being that we don't want government controlling what we can and cannot say, hear, or read. There is another, less obvious reason we should have this great freedom: so that we may be able to view, and understand the fallacies of the ignorant. I contend that if we do not expose our children to the ignorant, they may become unable to identify ignorance. The common counter-argument to this is that people want to preserve their child's innocence. Innocence is when a person is free from guilt, not when a person is free from understanding guilt. Would you say that a person who does not understand that theft is wrong is more or less likely to steal? Clearly they are more likely to steal, because a person who doesn't realize the damage it may cause is more carefree when it comes to theft. This has a perfect analogue with censoring "bad" material. If you do not show them what is bad, they will be left to figure it out completely on their own, which may result in the exact opposite of what you intend. Censorship is interfering with your right to decide what your child can and cannot view. I know that it seems like the censors are on your side, but in reality you are a tool that helps them keep their jobs, and impose their moral beliefs on future generations. In conclusion, a person of character will stand up for what they believe in, but a truly great person will stand up for everyone's individual right to believe whatever they want to believe. So please feel free to preserve your child's innocence, but please do not damage their moral acuity by supporting censorship.

Related topic (Censorship) reformatted :) (3, Insightful)

ScruffyScrode (812789) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449170)

Censorship
By Luke Green

Our constitutional right to freedom of speech has been under fire for quite some time now, often with the support of the people. This attack is what we call censorship, and it is damaging our society. When was the last time you watched TV show with a bigot yelling profanities at another man with your children? Why? If your answer is that you want to protect them, that is definitely a good answer, but a flawed reason for censorship, as I will attempt to show.

It is hardly intelligent to attempt to mandate morality, because what one person may find immoral, another may find completely harmless, and vice versa. For example: showing a man eating a hamburger on television is relatively commonplace. PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals), however, regards this as highly immoral. Does this mean we should ban showings of such things? No, because it is not unanimously agreed that eating animals is immoral. Most people enjoy it every day.

The FCC regulates broadcasting in the U.S., often fining broadcasters for "indecent" broadcasts. Certain words are blacklisted, even though not everyone agrees that these words are immoral, and many people use them in everyday conversation. What if suddenly you were disallowed to use words that you feel are completely benign, would you be okay with that? Would you be fine with other people controlling how you communicate?

There are many reasons we should have absolute freedom of speech, the clearest of all being that we don't want government controlling what we can and cannot say, hear, or read. There is another, less obvious reason we should have this great freedom: so that we may be able to view, and understand the fallacies of the ignorant. I contend that if we do not expose our children to the ignorant, they may become unable to identify ignorance. The common counter-argument to this is that people want to preserve their child's innocence. Innocence is when a person is free from guilt, not when a person is free from understanding guilt.

Would you say that a person who does not understand that theft is wrong is more or less likely to steal? Clearly they are more likely to steal, because a person who doesn't realize the damage it may cause is more carefree when it comes to theft. This has a perfect analogue with censoring "bad" material. If you do not show them what is bad, they will be left to figure it out completely on their own, which may result in the exact opposite of what you intend.

Censorship is interfering with your right to decide what your child can and cannot view. I know that it seems like the censors are on your side, but in reality you are a tool that helps them keep their jobs, and impose their moral beliefs on future generations.

In conclusion, a person of character will stand up for what they believe in, but a truly great person will stand up for everyone's individual right to believe whatever they want to believe. So please feel free to preserve your child's innocence, but please do not damage their moral acuity by supporting censorship.

it's about damn time... (1)

DeusExMalex (776652) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449161)

that the that the difference between morality and legality be made clear.

Re:it's about damn time... (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449297)

And on a related note the difference between the first amendment and its common summary The way it is worded it is ment to mean seperation of the state from the church (ie no state religion) but does not require removal of religion from state things (like prayer in public schools). A State school should have areas set aside for religious rites but should allow baptist , wiccan and satanist rites as required (all three parties clean up afterwards)

Debates Like This A Part of Freedom? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449164)

From the article: "entertaining lewd and lustful thoughts stimulated by viewing material that appeals to one's purient interests . . . . is immoral conduct even when done by consenting adults in private."

Gotta love logic like that. Gotta love how our country is obsessed with "morals" in the bedroom (or computer room, wherever that may be) that affect no one other than the consenting adults involved. Go read some Kant and later responses and rejections to Kant to get a feel for what more substantial morals are like.

That said, the puritan and sexual freedom argument has been going on as far back as we have records, especially in opulent societies such are ours. Important to have both sides, but equally important that a balance is maintained. Often time one isn't, and more often seems to move towards the puritan perspective than towards "Babylonical Chaos" (as a 16th century sermon I recently read put it). But then again, our current perspectives on sex are hardly eternal, and we are forced to see all other eras' sexual perspectives through our own. "We are not a mirror for history" to paraphrase Goethe, "but history is a mirror for us."

All that said, I'm glad to see this struck down. I should be able to do what I damn well please as long I don't violate another's agency in my own home. We all should, including having odd ideas about what the highest form of morality is, as this country wonderfully shows.

The goal (0)

vladd_rom (809133) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449171)

'upholding the public sense of morality is not even a legitimate state interest.'

Sure.

But how about providing suitable ratings, movie-like, in order to guide minors/children and to inform them about the content that they're about to view? Should that be a legitimate state interest in an ideal world?

Re:The goal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449329)


Only if it comes with a pony [typepad.com] .

News Flash! (-1, Flamebait)

TheDread (850076) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449177)

The Whitehouse announced today A new law prohibiting extramarital, non hetrosexual, non missionary position sex will be enacted by presidental decree. All persons failing to confirm to the new law will be guilty of a capital crime and face imediate execution.

good for them (3, Insightful)

GtKincaid (820642) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449178)

It certainly is a victory for the personal freedoms of people over in the USA.
The right to view so called illicet material has nothing to do with the gouvernment.
What consenting adults choose to do in the privacy of their homes is up to them, If they wish to publish it on the internet for free or for profit then it's up to them aswell.
If John Doe wishes to go online and look at two(or more ) consenting people "Getting jiggy" then why the hell does any gouvernment have any right to restrict a persons freedom in this manner.

This is a a wonderfull step towards ensuring your rights and i for the first time in a long while have read a story about the USA courts and not been down hearted.
alot of the religious or right wing people may find this stuff shocking , personaly im not a pr0n fan myself but and this is a big but(depends on the porn ...boom tish..) It is a persons right to choose what they view and enjoy aslong as it respects the rights of others . If you dont like porn then (here comes the cliche) Dont buy it , dont read it , don't use it.
Sure as hell dont try and stop other people from doing what they enjoy.
Lastly i must say again how good it is to see a positive news story about peoples rights being upheld

Woohoo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449180)

I'm not American, but hey! I sure am doing the dance for those guys!

Encore! Encore!

The Great Internet Constant (1)

Tobril (202224) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449221)

Now, as always, Porn leads the way to newer and better technologies. Pioneering the use of print, VHS, laserdisc, DVD, friendly subscription models, quality timely content, and many other innovations, Porn companies continue the tradition of professionalism and excellence in delivering high quality product to an eager audience. These companies lead the way concerning technological delivery methods, and deserve praise for driving the Internet foreword to the great wonder of the world it is today.

Courtship (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449223)

We're getting at least 3 (of 9) Supreme Court justices under Bush in the next few years. And possibly Clarence "No Questions" Thomas as Supreme Supreme. Soon these activist "mind your own business" judges won't stand in the way of our glorious Christian nation's compassion towards our perverts.

Johnny Carson killed by muslims (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449226)

This just in, muslims are violent and the scum of the world. They kill indiscriminantly!

More discrimination against Christians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449237)

What does it say when atheists are allowed to freely express their perversions in private or among other consenting adults, but Christians are not free to coopt government institutions [google.com] as a medium for their religious expression?

[You think I'm trolling, but someone, somewhere, is almost certainly making a form of this exact argument on right wing talk radio right this instant.]

Re:More discrimination against Christians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11449324)

Having the ten commandments in front of the courthouse is a government endorsement of christianity. Not having the ten commandments in front of the courthouse is not an endosement of athiesm.

And how does freedom-loving talk radio respond? (4, Insightful)

Pentomino (129125) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449276)

And how many nanoseconds elapsed before the right-wing talk radio choir started their Banshee-like wailing over "activist judges"?

I'm going to cross stitch this into a sampler. . . (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449286)


"upholding the public sense of morality is not even a legitimate state interest.'"

. . .and nail it to the wall of the office of a particular judge I know.

kfg

Finally (3, Insightful)

dmarx (528279) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449317)

A court has acted to limit the powers of government. The government has one job, and one only-ensuring that nobody's person or property is harmed without their consent.
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