David G. Savage reports in the L.A. Times:
Reporting from Washington – Could the government outlaw a hypothetical “Human Sacrifice Channel” on cable TV?
That question became the focus of a Supreme Court argument Tuesday on the reach of the 1st Amendment and whether Congress can outlaw videos showing dogs fighting or other small animals being tortured and killed.
Last year, a federal appeals court, citing freedom of speech, struck down a law against selling videos with scenes of animal cruelty.
The law applied only to illegal acts of torturing or killing animals, not legal hunting or fishing. It was intended to dry up the underground market in so-called crush videos, which show squealing animals being stomped by women in high heels. More recently, it has been used to prosecute people who sell videos of pit bulls and other dogs fighting.
On Tuesday, most of the justices sounded wary of reviving the law, fearing it might be used to ban depictions of legal activities such as hunting…