The Supreme Court today is considering the case of United States v. Stevens, a challenge to a 1999 federal law outlawing depictions of animal cruelty. The government says that such depictions are “unprotected” speech. Many First Amendment advocates and news organizations are supporting the challenge to the law.
It seems an easy enough case to decide, given the plain language of the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, except in the case of depictions of animal cruelty.
For a more substantive discussion of the issues in United States vs. Stevens, see the Cato Institute’s amicus curiae brief.