Ashcroft V. Free Speech Coalition Case Study

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Citation: Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition
535 U.S. 234 (2002)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Facts: The Free Speech Coalition which is a non-profit trade association of the pornography and adult entertainment industry in the United States filed suit, against the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 (CPPA). The child pornography prevention act prohibits and sets penalties for activities such as depicting any visual image of the sexual abuse of minors. This includes pictures, video, and even modified images with the likeness or appearance of a minor engaging in a sexual act. The Promotion, advertisement, and distribution of such works are also prohibited and have consequences. The Free Speech Coalition claims that these prohibitions are overbroad and vague and,
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The Court held the CPPA prohibitions to be too broad and in violation of the constitutional freedoms. The judgment from district court was reversed.
Explanation:
The Justices found the ban on certain images to be to broad and therefore sided in favor of the Free Coalition.
A. Rule: The Child Pornography Protection Act 1996 (CPPA) due to the advancement in technology prohibits and penalizes not only child porn but anything in its likeliness such as computerized images or young adults portraying minors. The Government submits that virtual child pornography whets the appetites of pedophiles and encourages them to engage in illegal conduct. The government also submits that it aids in the development and spread of child pornography. The court accepts these interests, but rejects the governments argument: 1. There is counterweights to the governments argument: a. The mere tendency to encourage unlawful acts is not a sufficient enough reason for banning
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