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February 24, 2007

ACLU Child Porn Follow-Ups

Allah's got the video from O'Reilly, and notes the inevitable I-was-just-doing-research-on-child-porn defense, which of course is now one of the go-to excuses for deviant behavior.

Stop the ACLU notes that the ACLU pressed for the legal sale and ownership of child porn (of course!) a couple of decades ago. Their position was that child porn might be illegal to produce -- involving, as it does, the sexual exploitation of children -- but not to own or sell, acts, they say, which do not involve the direct exploitation of children, but merely the transfer of materials depicting children who had already been exploited/molested/raped.

The Supreme Court didn't buy this argument. Maybe they should try again. Justice Kennedy is doing a lot of "evolving," especially as regards the newly discovered right "at the heart of liberty... to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."*

Little tidbit I didn't know: That jagoff Barry Lynn, supposedly a "reverend" or something in the "United Church of Christ," the guy who's pretty obviously an atheist but likes to pretend to be religious in order to further his secular agenda, was a proponent of this viewpoint.

As legislative counsel for the ACLU in 1985, Barry Lynn told the U.S. Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography (of which Focus on the Family President Dr. James C. Dobson was a member) that child pornography was protected by the First Amendment. While production of child porn could be prevented by law, he argued, its distribution could not be. A few years later (1988), Lynn told the Senate Judiciary Committee that even requiring porn producers to maintain records of their performers’ ages was impermissible.

* Incidentally, as a bit of rhetoric, that's a nice enough sentence and I have no strong disagreements with it. I'm annoyed to see it cited in a Supreme Court opinion, though, where words are supposed to have definite, limited, operative meanings. Kennedy's little slogan is both too vague and too sweeping -- pretty much the statement means "everything is legal." But of course he can't mean that literally -- so what does it mean? How can someone use that bit of dicta to determine what sorts of actions are protected by the "heart of liberaty" and freedom to "define the mystery of the universe" and which are not?

It's useless in that capacity. Either it means so much as to claim that virtually every act is protected from prosecution by the Constitution, or it means so little as to not be worth quoting in an opinion, or, of course, it's just "a little literary flair" which, again, really does not belong in an opinion. Words in opinions are supposed to mean something, and serve as a guideline as to what may be found legal or illegal or consitutional or unconstitutional in the future; does Kennedy's goofball Walt Whitman-esque rhetoric serve that function?

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posted by Ace at 05:39 PM

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