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Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition

United States Supreme Court
535 U.S. 234 (2002)


Facts

Congress passed the federal Child Pornography Protection Act (CPPA) in 1996 to extend federal prohibition against child pornography to sexually explicit images that appear to depict minors but that were actually produced without using real children. Specifically, the statute prohibited possessing or distributing images that could be created by using adults who look like minors or by using computer imaging. The Free Speech Coalition (FSC) (plaintiff) brought suit in federal district court against Attorney General Ashcroft and the United States Government (defendant) on the grounds that the CPPA violated the First Amendment. The district court upheld the CPPA. The court of appeals reversed claiming that the CPPA was unconstitutionally broad. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

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Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)

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Dissent (Rehnquist, C.J.)

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