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July 22, 2008

Third Circuit finds Child Online Protection Act facially unconstitutional

The Third Circuit has been giving the Constitution a work out recently.  Late last week, as detailed here, it found unconstitutional a federal law prohibiting distribution of images of animal creulty, and today it finds that the Child Online Protection Act facially violates the First and Fifth Amendments. Today's unanimous panel ruling in ACLU v. Atty Gen USA, No. 07-2539 (3d Cir. July 22, 2008) (available here), starts this way:

This matter comes on before this Court on an appeal from an order of the District Court entered March 22, 2007, finding that the Child Online Protection Act (“COPA”), 47 U.S.C. § 231, facially violates the First and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution and permanently enjoining the Attorney General from enforcing COPA.  The Government challenges the District Court’s conclusions that: (1) COPA is not narrowly tailored to advance the Government’s compelling interest in protecting children from harmful material on the World Wide Web (“Web”); (2) there are less restrictive, equally effective alternatives to COPA; and (3) COPA is impermissibly overbroad and vague.  We will affirm

July 22, 2008 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

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