April 16, 2002 04:42pm
Bill Lyon, FSC Executive Director Reports FSC Wins in United States Supreme Court
by: Company Press Release
This morning the USSC gave Free Speech Coalition a resounding victory in Ashcroft vs. FSC, the virtual child pornography case. In upholding the 9th Circuit Court finding, the high court, by a solid 6-3 margin, vindicated all our efforts and expense over the last 6 years.
This is the most important victory for free speech and for the adult industry in over a decade. FSC is careful in picking cases. Our funds are limited. We chose those cases that will have lasting effect on entire adult industry. Then, we chose the very best attorneys to plead them. Our hats are off to Louis Sirkin for the great job he did. Thanks, Lou.
I want to thank all our members, too. None of this comes cheap. It has cost a small fortune to carry this case to its conclusion. Your support and backing made it possible. When you pay your dues, when you participate in Erotica LA and Night of the Stars and our Golf Tournament that money goes to activities that support and protect the rights of the adult industry and its customers. That money made this victory possible. Now you see a major example of what your support can accomplish. It has been a long haul, but you have been with us all the way. We appreciate it.
Today, and for all the years to come, we can be proud of this victory.
The court majority, led by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, found two provisions of the Child Pornography Prevention Act overly broad and unconstitutional.
"The First Amendment requires a more precise restriction," Kennedy wrote for himself and Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer. Even Justice Clarence Thomas, writing separately, agreed with the outcome. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor partially agreed with the majority, but sided with Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Antonin Scalia on parts of their dissent.
Rehnquist and Scalia also filed a separate dissenting opinion that went further in disagreement with the majority.
The Free Speech Coalition has always been opposed to child pornography but felt this over-broad law could snare legitimate companies, and the films and photos produced by a wide variety of artists and writers. FSC never challenged the portion of the law that banned the use of identifiable, real children in computer-altered sexual images.
The Supreme Court, upholding the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals finding that the law would ban images that are not obscene as already defined, took a strong position in upholding the First Amendment right of adult American citizens to read, view and discuss what they chose. Obscenity and child sexual abuse are not protected by the Constitution's free-speech guarantee and are already covered under existing law.
Again, to all our loyal members, congratulations and thanks.
William R. Lyon
Free Speech Coalition