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SCOTUS Strikes Down Animal Cruelty Law

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Posted on Apr 20, 2010
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Dogfighting, and the distribution of depictions thereof, was one of the issues involved in the animal cruelty ruling on Tuesday.

Pointing to the First Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday nixed a federal law from 1999 that made the creation, possession or sale of depictions of animal cruelty illegal, despite the Obama administration’s request that the top court consider the animal rights angle in its decision. Chief Justice John Roberts pointed to the example of possession or distribution of hunting images in Washington, D.C., where hunting is illegal, in his majority opinion explaining the ruling.  —KA

The Christian Science Monitor:

Roberts said the statute created a criminal prohibition of “alarming breadth.”

“A depiction of entirely lawful conduct runs afoul of the ban if that depiction later finds its way into another state where the same conduct is unlawful,” he said.

He noted that since hunting is illegal in Washington, D.C., the law would extend to “any magazine or video depicting lawful hunting, so long as that depiction is sold within the nation’s capital.”

Roberts rejected pledges by the government that federal prosecutors would only enforce the statute against acts of what it viewed as “extreme cruelty.”

“The First Amendment protects against the government; it does not leave us at the mercy of noblesse oblige,” Roberts wrote. “We would not uphold an unconstitutional statute merely because the government promised to use it reasonably.”

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, April 21, 2010 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

Mr Yell:
P.S. You’re living up to your surname. I’m sure you’ve heard that before.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, April 21, 2010 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment

Mr Yell:
The Scotus vote was 8-1. I’m not sure you can blame it on the “true colors of the right wing, a bunch of monsters and gangsters and immature, spoiled brats.”

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By Jim Yell, April 21, 2010 at 7:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It wasn’t a victory for free speech it was a victory for rude and aggresive people who get their jollies by watching other living creatures being abused and killed. If taken to its next logical step it would make it legal to watch “snuff movies”, an activity that debases humanity and encourages violence and make brutality the norm, good-by civil society.

The Supreme Court once again shows the true colors of the right wing, a bunch of monsters and gangsters and immature, spoiled brats.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, April 20, 2010 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

Maani:
Do you live in the US? Animal cruelty is illegal in every state. Roberts is NOT in favor of animal cruelty. This is not a case about animal cruelty you fucking moron.

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By Maani, April 20, 2010 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

The problem with this decision is of a piece with the problem in the Citizens United decision: the Court COULD HAVE played Solomon, but refused to.

“A depiction of entirely lawful conduct runs afoul of the ban if that depiction later finds its way into another state where the same conduct is unlawful.”  That’s the point, Roberts!  Animal cruelty should not be lawful in ANY state!

What a bonehead.

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By Dave Thomas, April 20, 2010 at 4:59 pm Link to this comment

No wonder this post didn’t include the vote tally. It was 8-1 against. A victory for free speech. BOO YAH!

It’s pretty easy when reading this post to see it’s an axe grind at Roberts. Try not to be so transparent when you grind an axe KA.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, April 20, 2010 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

What a dumb-ass headline! And what a dumb-ass picture caption!

No it didn’t strike down any animal cruelty law. Nothing with respect to mistreating animals was even remotely addressed.

Typical alarmist clap-trap.

“The first amendment protects against the government,” Roberts said. Oh, how I wish today’s progressives understood and appreciated the concept of protection “against” the government and weren’t so fond of protection “by” the government.

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