Tag Archives | First Amendment

Who Really Won In The Supreme Court Animal Rights-Free Speech Decision?

dog FightingSo who were the winners from the big news First Amendment decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday? Free-speech advocates say the Supreme Court protected the First Amendment. Animal-rights advocates say it showed how Congress could pass a new anti-animal cruelty law, according to the Christian Science Monitor:

Free speech advocates praised Tuesday’s US Supreme Court decision striking down a federal law banning depictions of animal cruelty.

At the same time, animal rights groups are calling on Congress to enact a new, more targeted law, to prevent trafficking in photos and videos depicting acts of severe animal cruelty, including so-called “crush” videos.

In striking down the 1999 Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act, Chief Justice John Roberts said the law was substantially overbroad and could criminalize depictions of entirely lawful conduct such as hunting videos and magazines. The vote was 8 to 1.

“It is clear from the opinion and the size of the majority that the court heard the many voices concerned about this law,” said David Horowitz, executive director of the Media Coalition, a free-speech advocacy group.

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Kentucky Approves Bible Classes For Public Schools

BibleLEX18.com via the AP reports:

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky may follow the lead of Texas and a handful of other states in allowing Bible classes to be taught in public schools.

The Senate Education Committee on Thursday unanimously approved legislation that would effectively return the Bible to classrooms across Kentucky.

“The purpose is to allow the Bible to be used for its literature content as well as its art and cultural and social studies content,” said state Sen. David Boswell, D-Owensboro, chief sponsor of the bill that is modeled after a Texas measure.

Under the Kentucky proposal, Bible courses would be offered as electives, meaning schools could choose whether to offer them to students as a social studies credit and that students could decide whether to take them.

Boswell said he believes the legislation is constitutional because the Bible won’t be taught from a religious perspective. What sets the legislation apart, he said, is that it proposes teaching, not preaching, the Bible.

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The Human Sacrifice Channel

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…

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