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He's naked and you're offended, but that doesn't change the First Amendment

In "It's a Crime for Cable Companies to Offer HBO in Michigan," blogfather Eugene Volokh interprets a Michigan Appeals Court decision, People of the State of Michigan v. Timothy Bruce Huffman, here. Here's an excerpt, but I encourage you to read the whole thing:

"The Supreme Court has made clear that material doesn't lose constitutional protection merely because it contains nudity that might offend someone. And I think this is correct; if you don't like what you see, a click of the remote control -- coupled with remembering what channels tend to carry such material, so you can avoid it in the future -- will solve the problem for you. Nor am I much worried about children here; whatever harm may flow from children being exposed to sexually themed material, let me stress again that the law as interpreted by the court isn't limited to the erotic.

"It turns out that there are interesting conceptual questions about how First Amendment law should treat nudity, and about what distinctions there may be between live nudity and televised (or for that matter painted or computer generated) nudity. Nonetheless, I don't think a court needs to be detained by these theoretical issues here; the First Amendment precedents are pretty clear, and they're in Huffman's favor."

Posted by Laurel Newby on May 23, 2005 at 02:38 PM | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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