Justice Dept. Dir. of Public Affairs: Regarding the Supreme Court’s Decision on the Child Online Protection Act:
Our society has reached a broad consensus that child obscenity is harmful to our youngest generation and must be stopped. Congress has repeatedly attempted to address this serious need and the Court yet again opposed these common-sense measures to protect America’s children. The Department will continue to work to defend children from the dangerous predators who lurk in the dark shadows of the World Wide Web.
Ernest Miller: First Thoughts on Ashcroft v. ACLU: “The least restrictive means in this case are filters. Yea filters! Go filters! The opinion reads like a censorware author’s dream marketing campaign.”
Lawrence Solum: Ashcroft v. ACLU
Lyle Denniston: Sex, the Internet and congressional frustration
The Supreme Court, telling Congress for the third time that it has only limited power to try to censor sexually explicit material on the Internet, dropped a broad hint today that the lawmakers may be doomed to frustration if they try again. Because technology is advancing so rapidly, the Court said in blocking enforcement of the Child Online Protection Act, Congress may find that it has laid down rules based on a current state of technology only to see the rules become outdated through years of court review.
Justice Breyer makes a very good point in dissent: The majority here that wholeheartedly endorses the effectiveness of filtering software is mostly the same as the dissenters who unhappily listed the faults of filtering software in the American Library Association case. Indeed, Justice Breyer seems to make a special effort to list the exact text of the dissenting opinion’s criticisms in ALA.
The majority explicitly stopped short of deciding whether the law is constitutional. That is a question that can only be answered after a trial, the majority said, even as it acknowledged that the rapid advances in Internet and computer technology make it difficult to foresee what all the issues at a trial will be.
Washington Post: Justices Leave Online Porn Case Unresolved
One COPA supporter said that the court is exceeding its powers. “This is akin to judicial tyranny,” said Patrick Trueman, senior legal adviser at the Family Research Council and former chief of the child exploitation unit at the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The court is dismissing acts of Congress which reflect the will of the people… This decision says to pornographers that you have a green light to distribute material to children.”