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Switch to Forum Live View Boy, Do I Disagree With the Supreme Court Here!!!
4 years ago  ::  Apr 21, 2010 - 2:37AM #1
Mlyons619
Posts: 16,571

The latest Supreme Court Ruling



Supreme Court Overturns Law Banning Depictions of Animal Cruelty


...The Supreme Court today invalidated a federal law that had criminalized the sale of certain depictions of animal cruelty, including violent dogfighting videos.


An 8-1 majority on the Court said that the law was "substantially overbroad, and therefore invalid under the First Amendment," affirming the right of free speech in the face of some government-imposed restrictions.


The government had argued that showing animals being mutilated, tortured or killed was so explicit that it should be banned. But today Chief Justice John Roberts , writing for the majority, said "We disagree..."



So we have the FREEDOM to film animals fighting to the death, eh?  To say I disagree with this ruling is an understatement.


Do you believe the Supreme Court have protected a "valuable right" to film dogs killing each other?  Or do you believe - as I do - that the Supreme Court "screwed the pooch...?"

"No freedom without education"
            --Thomas Jefferson

"NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition"
            -- Monty Python
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4 years ago  ::  Apr 21, 2010 - 9:57AM #2
Nepenthe
Posts: 2,700

Apr 21, 2010 -- 2:37AM, Mlyons619 wrote:

Do you believe the Supreme Court have protected a "valuable right" to film dogs killing each other?  Or do you believe - as I do - that the Supreme Court "screwed the pooch...?"



Do you understand that the law had such a broad definition of "animal cruelty" that hunting and fishing shows could have been banned? 


And the law did not only apply to those who filmed the event.  The law also applied to those who used the footage for any purpose.  That is because of the overly broad language of the law, which is a one of the reasons SCOTUS hears many cases concerning the first amendment.


 


EDITED:  posted incorrect information concerning the law. 

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.
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4 years ago  ::  Apr 21, 2010 - 10:00AM #3
appy20
Posts: 10,165

I was taken aback by this ruling as well.  I have a hard time understanding how this is free speech.  This is a criminal act being filmed.  Can we film a murder of a human and call it free speech? 


I am a big free speech advocate.  To quote Voltaire: "I may disagree with what you have  to say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it."  However, I draw the line at calling filiming a criminal act free speech.

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 21, 2010 - 10:01AM #4
appy20
Posts: 10,165

Apr 21, 2010 -- 9:57AM, Nepenthe wrote:


Apr 21, 2010 -- 2:37AM, Mlyons619 wrote:

Do you believe the Supreme Court have protected a "valuable right" to film dogs killing each other?  Or do you believe - as I do - that the Supreme Court "screwed the pooch...?"



Do you understand that the law had such a broad definition of "animal cruelty" that hunting and fishing shows could have been banned?  Or even documentaries on animal cruelty if they showed any footage of actual animal cruelty?


And the law did not only apply to those who filmed the event.  The law also applied to those who used the footage for any purpose.  If person A filmed a dog fighting ring, and person B used the film to promote awareness about dog fighting, person B could be found guilty under the existing law.  That is because of the overly broad language of the law, which is a one of the reasons SCOTUS hears many cases concerning the first amendment.







That does clarify things a bit.  A lot actually.

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 21, 2010 - 10:21AM #5
Mlyons619
Posts: 16,571

Hunting and fishing is LEGAL and does not entail prolonged cruelty, as does illegal dogfighting.

"No freedom without education"
            --Thomas Jefferson

"NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition"
            -- Monty Python
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4 years ago  ::  Apr 21, 2010 - 11:14AM #6
Nepenthe
Posts: 2,700

Apr 21, 2010 -- 10:21AM, Mlyons619 wrote:


Hunting and fishing is LEGAL and does not entail prolonged cruelty, as does illegal dogfighting.




Hunting and fishing are illegal in D.C., which means D.C. residents would be affected by the law.  In fact, part of Roberts opinion was that if just one jurisdiction outlaws a specific definition of animal cruelty, such as hunting being illegal in D.C., federal officials could apply that to all jurisdictions, since it is a federal law.  So, in order to be in compliance with the federal law, you would have to know the law of all jurisdictions where the federal law applies.


From the abajournal


"According to Roberts, the statute is so broad that it could bar videos of hunting, which is illegal in the District of Columbia. The law reaches animal cruelty that is illegal in a single jurisdiction, allowing “each jurisdiction to export its laws to the rest of the country," he writes.


 


And I was wrong about the documentary thing, which is my fault for no properly researching it.  I will edit my above post.


"An exception is allowed for depictions with serious educational, journalistic or artistic value."

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.
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4 years ago  ::  Apr 21, 2010 - 12:24PM #7
Tolerant Sis
Posts: 4,201

The Supreme Court was right about this, even though they were right for the wrong reasons.


We can't make every illegal action illegal to depict.  If that were the case, newspaper photographers who catch bank robbers in the act or someone being beaten up or even someone being shot would not be able to publish those photographs, and that WOULD be unconstitutional.  


Freedom of the press, even press you vehemently disagree with, is a greater right than the right not to be offended by content.


 

First amendment fan since 1793.
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4 years ago  ::  Apr 21, 2010 - 12:27PM #8
rabello
Posts: 20,901

Not just dog fights and human beings' abuse of dogs like pitbulls:


In an eight to one decision, the highest US court overturned the three-year sentence against Robert Stevens, who sold videos of pitbull dog fights that he had not himself organized.


Stevens was prosecuted under a 1999 law that criminalized videos depicting animal cruelty in an attempt to target the trade of fetish films showing women in high heels crushing to death small animals such as hamsters or kittens.



Source

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 21, 2010 - 12:29PM #9
d_p_m
Posts: 9,835
Every once in a while, I get surprised pleasantly.

When I read the Supreme Court decision, (yes, the actual decision, not some reinterpreted news story), all I could think was "Wow! A decision that totally makes sense, made for the right reasons!"
"If you aren't confused by quantum physics, you haven't really understood it."

― Niels Bohr


“Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science as the strangled snakes beside that of Hercules; and history records that whenever science and orthodoxy have been fairly opposed, the latter has been forced to retire from the lists, bleeding and crushed if not annihilated; scotched, if not slain.”

― Thomas Henry Huxley, Lay Sermons, Addresses, and Reviews


“The science, the art, the jurisprudence, the chief political and social theories, of the modern world have grown out of Greece and Rome—not by favour of, but in the teeth of, the fundamental teachings of early Christianity, to which science, art, and any serious occupation with the things of this world were alike despicable.”

― Thomas Henry Huxley, Agnosticism and Christianity and Other Essays
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4 years ago  ::  Apr 21, 2010 - 1:48PM #10
appy20
Posts: 10,165

Apr 21, 2010 -- 12:24PM, Tolerant Sis wrote:


The Supreme Court was right about this, even though they were right for the wrong reasons.


We can't make every illegal action illegal to depict.  If that were the case, newspaper photographers who catch bank robbers in the act or someone being beaten up or even someone being shot would not be able to publish those photographs, and that WOULD be unconstitutional.  


Freedom of the press, even press you vehemently disagree with, is a greater right than the right not to be offended by content.


 




If you are allowing an illegal act to be performed or staging it for photographing purposes, there ought to be some accountability for that and not the speech itself. If a person witnesses a crime and fails to report it, they can be charged with something. Same should apply to photographing something especially if the photographer was a part of instigating the act on film.


 

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