Are you an absolutist? Do you believe no law should abridge free speech?
I am an absolutist, but an issue the Supreme Court is likely to tackle sure made me think about that.
The United States solicitor general asked the Supreme Court to look at whether a law that makes it illegal to sell videos depicting animal cruelty violates the First Amendment, according to Adam Liptak at the New York Times. The law in question does not make the animal cruelty illegal; other laws deal with the actual act. This law only criminalizes depiction of the act.
In a fascinating yet disturbing read, Liptak details how this law prohibits the sale of sexual fetish videos involving animal cruelty and dog fighting videos, among other things, and brings into question whether some speech simply has “no value.”
It’s a sick case. It’s hard to believe that anyone would want to see such images. But I guarantee this article and this case will make you think about where to draw the line on free speech.