AP Wire | 01/21/2005 | Federal judge dismisses charges against Calif. porn business
Nothing like a good snow storm to get That lawyer dude blogging! I was reading a fellow bloggers blog(http://www.legalreader.com) and stumbled across the above article. It is about the first amendment and the right for adults to take part in, exhibit, and view "bad taste." Now some may say that the movies that the court has permitted are obscene. They include depictions of criminal activity to others. They mix sex and violence and are unsafe for children and adults. The constitution protects the rights of people with something to say to say it even if most of us don't like it. Nevertheless... Rape and violence are difficult things to protect.
So why did the court act in favor of this disgusting material? Because the court held that the laws outlawing the pornographic material is unconstitutional. Now you may be asking how the constitution could outlaw a law that is meant to protect citizens from viewing material that is obscene?
The court held that "If the first amendment means anything, it means that a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house what books he may read or what films he may watch."
The court, quoting from the US SUPREME COURT case of Stanley v. Georgia, stated that to find otherwise would support a government right to control the moral content of a person's thought. One of the reasons for the court's position is that the constitution embodies a concept of Free will ( see the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas) and finds that from God man has the right to think in a way and act in a way other than the way God would have him think or act.
The court noted that while the Georgia statute prohibited possession of sexually explicit material, it could have just as easily prohibited the possession of political thought literature or a copy of a controversial book or even a copy of the bible.
If the government has a right to decide what we can read then it has the right to decide how we can think. Such a right would be the antithesis of the first amendment and a real strike to the concept of free will.
However the case before the court in the articles above did not deal with the right to possess the material only the right to distribute it. The court reasoned that if one can possess it, it cannot be constutional to ban it entirely. The court held that in the case before it, the distributor took enough precautions to protect those who might innocently come upon it or minors who should not see it.
But why can someone possess or distribute material that degrades others and may endangers the reader in some way?
Because the alternative would be to allow others often the majority to dictate their will on others in matters that are personal to them. Although I doubt that the framers of the constitution could have envisioned their Bill of Rights protecting the materials that are protected today, I have no doubt that they understood that the First Amendment would have protected materials that the majority would find offensive in future ages. Whether political, religious or sexual in nature. As such, while we may not like what we protect... we will want to have these same protections for our own thoughts and deeds.
ANY WAY that's what I think... tell me what you think by leaving a comment below ( you should not leave your full name or make yourself identifiable to strangers when on the net unless you are at least 18 years old and know what you are doing) or you can write to me by leaving a comment at www.colleluorilaw.com on the comment page.