This is an interesting article. Makes you think about the Constitutional rights we all share, and the duty of the courts to enforce those rights – even when the “popular” thing to do may not be the Constitutional thing to do.
Here’s what happened:
The Supreme Court by an 8-1 vote Tuesday struck down a federal law that makes it a crime to sell videos and other depictions of animal cruelty, saying the law infringed on free speech rights.
"We read (the law) to create a criminal prohibition of alarming breadth," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority, noting that nowhere in the disputed law was there a requirement that the depicted conduct actually be "cruel."
The text of the law, used to prosecute a Virginia man who had advertised videos of dogfights in an underground magazine, sweepingly covered "any depiction" in which "a living animal is intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed."
Yet as the justices struck down that prohibition, they specifically said they were not deciding the validity of a law that would target only so-called "crush videos," which typically show women’s high heels digging into kittens and other small animals and which had inspired Congress to write the 1999 law in the first place.
Robert Stevens, who had run a business known as "Dogs of Velvet and Steel," appealed his conviction under the law, saying it violated his First Amendment speech rights. He also contended he was trying to provide educational and historical materials about the pit bull breed, not promoting illegal dogfighting.
Reminds me of the flag burning cases – you know, the “I don’t agree with what you are doing, but I agree with your right to do it” cases.
What about that Federal court case last week, where a Wisconsin federal judge ruled that the National Day of Prayer was essentially a call for religious action:
"It goes beyond mere ‘acknowledgment’ of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context," she wrote. "In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience."
So, if we have a constitution (our universal rules to live by), we have to have someone to interpret it. That’s what judges do, everyday, all across the country (although some that I know could step up their Con Law knowledge and prowess!). If you want that job, go to law school, pass the Bar, and then try (try!) to get a judicial appointment. Or, spend hundreds of thousands trying to get elected. Then you can be in a position to try to interpret the Constitution and put your name on the line. Remember: NO LEGISLATING FROM THE BENCH, NO LIBERAL JUDGES, NO JUDICIAL ACTIVISM (not to be confused with judicial ActiVision). See, it’s pretty hard!!!!! We cannot have it “our” way all the time; what we can hope for are judges that put their names and reputations on the line to make the hard decisions for us.
As always, here’s the article: Breaking Legal News – Headline Legal News – Law Firm & Lawyer News – Court News – Law News