Tuesday, April 20, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Supreme Court upholds the viewing and selling of CRUSH VIDEOS AND DOG FIGHT VIDEOS!

Mimi's note: I am an American. I am a proud American. I love my country. With that said, I also want to state that those who are charged with upholding and interpreting our Constitution stretch what our forefathers intended TOO FAR! My heart is breaking. I can't stop crying. I rail against the Supreme Court's inhumane decision. I won't tell you what I wish for each and every one of them - democrat or republican or independent. Right now - this very minute - I AM ASHAMED to live in a country where such ignorance is held up as the foundation to our Freedom of Speech.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court, with only one dissenting vote Tuesday, struck down a federal ban on videos that show graphic violence against animals. The ruling cheered free speech advocates, but it raised concerns that more animals will be harmed.

The justices threw out the criminal conviction of Robert Stevens of Pittsville, Va., who was sentenced to three years in prison for videos he made about pit bull fights.

The law was enacted in 1999 to limit Internet sales of so-called crush videos, which appeal to a certain sexual fetish by showing women crushing to death small animals with their bare feet or high-heeled shoes.

The videos virtually disappeared once the measure became law, the government argued. The Bush administration used the law for the first time when it indicted Stevens in 2004.

All 50 states have laws against animal cruelty, but the federal statute targeted the videos because it has been difficult to prosecute people who take part in violence against animals with a camera rolling, but not showing their faces.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, said the law goes too far. He suggested that a measure limited to crush videos might be valid.

The Humane Society of the United States said it would press Congress to adopt a narrower ban on the sale of videos showing "malicious acts of cruelty." Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., is looking at whether there is a way "to protect animal rights, which really is the main focus, without infringing on free speech," Blumenauer spokeswoman Erin Allweiss said.

In dissent, Justice Samuel Alito, a dog owner himself, said the harm animals suffer in dogfights is enough to sustain the law. Alito's dog, Zeus, a springer spaniel, is sometimes seen around the court being walked by Alito's wife, Martha-Ann.

Alito also said the ruling probably will spur new crush videos because it has "the practical effect of legalizing the sale of such videos."

Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle said hundreds of crush videos appeared on the Internet after a federal appeals court ruled in Stevens' favor in 2008. "This court ruling is going to accelerate that trend. That's why it's critical that the Congress take action," he said.

Other animal rights groups, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and 26 states also joined the Obama administration in support of the law. The government sought a ruling that treated videos showing animal cruelty like child pornography – that is, not entitled to constitutional protection.

But Roberts said the law could be read to allow the prosecution of the producers of films about hunting. And he scoffed at the administration's assurances that it would only apply the law to depictions of extreme cruelty.

"But the First Amendment protects against the government," Roberts said. "We would not uphold an unconstitutional statute merely because the government promised to use it responsibly."

Free speech advocates praised Tuesday's ruling.

"Speech is protected whether it's popular or unpopular, harmful or unharmful," said David Horowitz, executive director of the Media Coalition. The group submitted a brief siding with Stevens on behalf of booksellers, documentary film makers, theater owners, writers groups and others.

Stevens ran a business and Web site that sold videos of pit bull fights. He is among a handful of people prosecuted under the animal cruelty law, none of them for making crush videos. He noted in court papers that his sentence was 14 months longer than professional football player Michael Vick's prison term for running a dogfighting ring.

A federal judge rejected Stevens' First Amendment claims, but the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled in his favor.

The administration persuaded the high court to intervene, but for the second time this year, the justices struck down a federal law on free speech grounds. In January, the court invalidated parts of a 63-year-old law aimed at limiting corporate and union involvement in political campaigns.

The case is U.S. v. Stevens, 08-769.

National Canine Cancer Foundation


Mrs. JP said...

Sick,,,just really sickening. How can they sleep at night? I just can't imagine it.
Now, if I want to pray in a public place that would be another story.

Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Like V***, they will get theirs some day...

kissa-bull said...

oh this is just heartbreaking for us pibble and animal lovers alike. i cant still wrap my head around this horrible decision. this is the most terrible news i've heard in a while. very sad.

Sagira said...

That makes me sick. :(

♥I am Holly♥ said...

That just makes me absolutely sick. I read todays paper here and I see where Michael Vick will be signing autographs at Tech in a few days and I threw the paper in the trash immediately. This is insane and I agree with you....I am ashamed of this country.

Lola said...

I never heard of crush videos before. I think I'm going to vomit on something, now. It's always shocking when you learn about something that's just evil, with no possible justification even to a sick mind.

As to the decision, I don't know much about constitutional law, but Blog Mom says that sometimes a bad Supreme Court decision means there's a need for new laws that address the situation differently, and we both hope that some good new laws that will both stand up in court and put away everyone involved in anything like this can be passed.


houndstooth said...

I was so disappointed to hear this on the news this evening. It's not just that they allowed this horrible practice to continue by hiding behind first amendment rights, it's the whole pervasive way that violence has infiltrated our society.

Lola said...

Um...I'm back because Alpha Mom came home and she IS a lawyer and very big on constitutional rights, including first amendment ones, but she was very upset about this decision. She has been following the case and knew a lot about it. She disagrees very much with the decision because she said that it's a matter of "conduct, not speech" which seems to have pawticular legal meaning. The court treated it the other way around.

She did say that new statutes could be crafted that should be upheld and Blog Mom asked if any of that could be done on the federal level. She said that yes it could. You know what that means, right? It means that all animal lovers should write and call their congresspeople - a lot - to urge them to get busy on such a law. And there's no reason why this one shouldn't be bipawtisan. Caring about animals is not limited to one side of the aisle or the other.

^..^Corgidogmama said...

Insane! Stupid! Just plain nuts!
Why are the lawmakers the ones without any brain matter?????
A life, any life, is worth something isn't it?

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Yes , some of the leaders of our country are so ignorant.
Not only that- they are sick!

MAX said...

Also never heard of such videos before. I can hear your angst!

Teddy Bear said...

When will some people learn???

Teddy Bear

Dennis the Vizsla said...

I'm sad to see such a strong majority in the decision. I hope they re-draft the legislation with a narrower focus on the videos where they kill or harm an animal just for the sake of the video.

ocmist said...

This is totally SICK!!! Insanity is running rampant in this country lately! Only ONE of our Justices had the decency and courage to actually stand up for what is RIGHT?!?! Thank GOD for people like Justice Alito!

I'd never heard of a "Crush Video" either, and I wish I never had! It just makes me so totally sick to my stomach! We SOOO need to contact our "representatives" (though those that are supposed to represent us, in this area at least, DON'T) still, maybe they might stand up for animals even if they don't stand up for babies or other people! Grammy from Corgi Country