Update: Animal rights vs. free speech

by Walter Olson on April 24, 2009

The Supreme Court “has agreed to consider whether a law barring videotapes and other depictions of animal cruelty violates the First Amendment.” The law could result in criminal charges being filed over, say, videos of bullfights or cockfights taken in nations where those practices are perfectly lawful, or taken in U.S. states where until recently various forms of animal fighting were lawful. The Third Circuit ruled it an unconstitutional infringement on free speech. [ABA Journal, Lyle Denniston/SCOTUSBlog, Adler @ Volokh; earlier] Nearly ten years ago (yes, believe it or not, this blog will turn 10 as of the first of July) we covered the original federal legislation, and visitors still arrive regularly at this site after searching on the term “crush videos”.

As we noted in a 2006 post, litigators for the Humane Society of the U.S. have been trying to force the U.S. Postal Service to ban the use of the mails by animal-fighting magazines like The Feathered Warrior. Now, according to an HSUS release, they have gotten a judge to order the USPS to reconsider its non-censorship policy. [Rebecca Baker, "Completely Legal" Gannett Westchester legal blog, Apr. 23]

{ 1 comment }

1 Joe Bingham 04.25.09 at 5:36 pm

Another for the “I’ll fight to protect your right to be a disgusting human being” file…

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