Ashcroft v. ACLU: Supreme Court Maintains Ban on Censorship Law

Document Date: March 7, 2003

Feature on Ashcroft v. ACLU

The ACLU welcomed a federal appeals court ruling that a law meant to safeguard children against Internet pornography would block lawful and valuable speech for adults.

The case has to do with a law passed by Congress in 1998 called the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), a broad censorship law that severely restricts any speech on the Web that is “harmful to minors,” and imposes steep fines and prison terms for violators. Read more >>

Summary of Supreme Court ruling and What Happens Next

Online Chat With ACLU Lead Counsel Ann Beeson on the Supreme Court’s decision to Revisit COPA (10/14/2003)

Third Circuit ruling (3/2003)

Supreme Court ruling (5/2002)

ACLU Summary of Supreme Court’s Ruling

Introduction to the Case by Ann Beeson

Plaintiffs Involved in the Case

3rd Circuit Court Decision Striking Down COPA

Text of COPA (the law being ruled on by the Supreme Court)

1998 Justice Deptartment letter to Congress (expressing concerns about COPA legislation)

ACLU Letter on H.R. 4623, “Child Obscenity and Pornography Prevention Act of 2002”

COPA Commission report

Materials on Reno v. ACLU (earlier case striking Communications Decency Act)

Materials on ACLU v. Reno II (precursor to Ashcroft v. ACLU)

ACLU, et al. v. Ashcroft Brief Appealing COPA

Third circuit brief on remand from Supreme Court

Ashcroft v. ACLU et. al. Supreme Court brief

Government’s Supreme Court brief

Amicus Brief by Internet Industry Associations and U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Amicus Brief by the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality

Amicus Brief by Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and People for the American Way

Amicus Brief by the Association of American Publishers

Amicus Brief by the Association of National Advertisers

Amicus Brief by the American Society of Journalists and Authors

Supreme Court Maintains Ban on Internet Censorship Law 5/13/2002

In Supreme Court Argument, ACLU to Battle Internet Censorship Law 11/26/2001

ACLU Files Brief in Second Battle Over Internet Censorship 9/20/2001

ACLU Ready for Second Supreme Court Battle Over Internet Censorship 5/21/2001

ACLU v. Reno II Victory! Appeals Court Rejects Congress’ Second Attempt at Censorship 6/22/2000

Appeals Court to Hear Arguments in Second Internet Censorship Battle 11/2/1999

ACLU Gears Up for Appeals in Challenges to Internet Censorship 9/20/1999

Internet Censorship Battle Moves to Appeals Court 4/2/1999

Rejecting Cyber-Censorship, Court Defends Online “Marketplace of Ideas” 2/1/1999

New Cyber-Censorship Law Would Fracture Internet 1/20/1999

Judge Halts Enforcement of Internet Censorship Law 11/19/1998

Coalition Files Challenge to Federal Net Censorship Law 10/22/1998

Ann Beeson, Christopher A. Hansen, and Steven R. Shapiro of the ACLU Foundation

Stefan Presser of the ACLU of Pennsylvania Foundation

David L. Sobel of the Electronic Privacy Information Center

Alexandra A.E. Shapiro, Christopher R. Harris, Michele M. Pyle, and Mark H. Goldberg of Latham & Watkins

Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation

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