AR Philosophy > Legalities
U.S. High Court Debates Animal Cruelty Videos

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Supreme Court voiced deep free speech concerns
Tuesday about a law designed to stop the sale and marketing of videos
showing dog fights and other acts of animal cruelty.

The justices heard an hour of lively debate about the scope and intent of the decade-old statute that supporters say has done much to stop the spread of profiting from the torture and abuse of animals.

But media groups and the National Rifle Association were among those who say the law is overly broad.

"It's not up to the government to decide what are people's worst instincts," said Justice Antonin Scalia. "One can contemplate a lot of other areas, where government could say: You are appealing to people's worst instincts, and, therefore, movies cannot be made" showing dramatized depictions of animals being abused, for example.

"What about people who like to see human sacrifices?" asked Justice Samuel Alito, somewhat sarcastically. "Suppose that is legally taking place someplace in the world. I mean, people here would probably love to see it. Live, pay-per-view, you know, on the Human Sacrifice Channel. They have a point of view they want to express. That's okay?" He seemed to indicate strongly it was not, and that lawmakers would have discretion to block it.
The government had argued a "compelling interest" in stopping people who would profit from dog attack tapes and similar depictions.

The case is U.S. vs. Stevens (08-769) and a ruling is expected in several months.

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