Are Dogfighting Videos Protected Speech?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Today is the second day of the Supreme Court’s new term. And for the first time in a quarter century, justices may declare an entire category of speech outside of First Amendment protection. At the center of the case is a law that Congress passed in 1999 making it illegal to distribute videos and other materials depicting animal cruelty, like dogfighting. In 2003, a man named Robert J. Stevens was sent to jail for 37 months for breaking that law. Today the court will decide whether Congress overstepped its authority by passing the law in the first place.

Alan Isaacman, a First Amendment attorney who famously defended Larry Flynt, and Mary Lou Randour, director of human-animal relations with the Humane Society of the U.S., discuss the case.


Alan Isaacman and Dr. Mary Lou Randour

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [3]


Should people be arrested for watching nature documentaries? A ton of those are staged. Is that not animal cruelty?

Or is it okay to make animals kill each other as long as it is for "educational" purposes?

Nov. 20 2009 12:54 AM
Maria Palmer

I know that as a nation we have to drastically improve the way we treat our animals (farming, cosmetics, medical and pharmaceutical testing and even our military.) Unfortunately most people are ignorant of these atrocities so barely nothing is being done about it. But to make this the argument for dog fighting videos to be legal is ludicrous. No animal should be made to brutally tear each other apart for the sake of human entertainment. People... dog fighting is ILLEGAL so why should anyone be allowed to sell vidoes of dog fights?

Oct. 06 2009 11:33 AM
will galison

Dog Fighting is illegal. Therefore depiction of such as entertainment should be illegal.

Likewise, sex with children is illegal. Therefore depiction of such as entertainment should be illegal.

Sex with adults is legal. Therefore depiction of such as entertainment should be legal.

Graphic violence that is not staged pr presented as entertainment should be protected, otherwise wars and disasters could not be covered.

Likewise, legal violence against animals such as slaughter should not be presented as entertainment, but must be able to be presented as documentary.

Oct. 06 2009 10:12 AM

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