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Topic: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a free speech case involving the constitutionality of a federal law that limits the right of people to sell videos that depict animal cruelty. Bear in mind the crime in question is not about being cruel to animals, but whether or not selling video of the cruelty can be punished. Please read Adam Liptak’s article in the New York Times, “Animal Cruelty Law Tests Free Speech.” An overview of the court's decision can be found in the article "Justices Reject Ban on Videos of Animal Cruelty."
The Assignment: After looking at the story presented, make a case for which position you would support.
While reading the articles, pay close attention to the areas of speech that the Court has allowed to be banned (fighting words, child pornography, etc…). In other words, types of speech that are not protected by the 1st Amendment and thus, can be banned. Additionally, consider the law’s willingness to allow offensive material to be protected by the 1st Amendment so long as it possesses, “serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical, or artistic value.” In April of 2010 the Supreme Court ruled on the case discussed in Mr. Liptak's article. Would these “crush videos” satisfy this criteria? Why? Why not?
Would you punish people for selling, or even owning, “crush videos?” Why?
As you write your responses focus your attention on the constitutional questions. This is not a case of how you “feel” about the topic. Nor is it about whether or not you want to purchase a “crush video”. For this assessment you are looking at the issue in a broader context than your personal preferences. Your focus in responding to the questions, regardless of the position you take, should be on the civil liberties issue at hand.
As you work on this, consider this perspective: I may not like what it is that you are doing, but I may still believe that you have a constitutional right to your actions.
Answers do not require a specific word or page count. By way of format, you may wish to utilize either a standard three-paragraph essay, or five-paragraph essay, format.
Topic: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a free speech case involving the constitutionality of a federal law that limits the right of people to sell videos that depict animal cruelty. Bear in mind the crime in question is not about being cruel to animals, but whether or not selling video of the cruelty can be punished.