Religious groups outraged over Supreme Court's Internet porn decision
The 5-4 decision did not reject the law entirely, but told a lower court to decide whether the law is the least restrictive way of limiting minors' access to online pornography. "This opinion does not hold that Congress is incapable of enacting any regulation of the Internet designed to prevent minors from gaining access to harmful materials," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority. But the majority all but said the lower courts must find COPAwhich requires porn sites to require visitors to verify their ageunconstitutional, since it's not the least restrictive way to block minors' access. While the lower court decides the case, the justices said, the law can't be enforced.
"Content-based prohibitions, enforced by severe criminal penalties, have the constant potential to be a repressive force in the lives and thoughts of a free people," Kennedy wrote.
"It is unclear how the government can win the case after yesterday's ruling," writes The Washington Post.
That's Justice Stephen G. Breyer's take, too. "What else was Congress supposed to do?" he asked in his dissent, joined by justices Rehnquist and O'Connor (Scalia wrote a separate dissent). "It is always less restrictive to do nothing than to do something. But 'doing nothing' does not address the problem Congress sought to addressnamely that, despite the availability of filtering software, children were still being exposed to harmful material on the Internet."
Well, said Kennedy, "By enacting programs to promote ...1
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