Bill to Ban Animal Crush Videos Clears First HurdleJun 29 2010
The Supreme Court’s decision threw out the conviction of a Virginia man sentenced to three years in prison under the 1999 law for selling dog fighting videos. Robert Stevens of Pittsville, Virginia, appealed his conviction, saying it violated his right of free speech. The U.S Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit inPhiladelphia tossed out Stevens’ conviction and ruled the statute was unconstitutional.
The Department of Justice appealed that decision to the Supreme Court.
The High Court ruled the 1999 law was too broad and could be interpreted to include such activities as hunting. Justices also noted that dog fighting and animal cruelty are illegal nationwide.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito cast the lone dissenting opinion in the case.
“The Court strikes down in its entirety a valuable statute that was enacted not to suppress speech, but to prevent horrific acts of animal cruelty — in particular, the creation and commercial exploitation of ‘crush videos,’ a form of depraved entertainment that has no social value,” Alito wrote. “The Court’s approach, which has the practical effect of legalizing the sale of such videos and is thus likely to spur a resumption of their production, is unwarranted.”
When reaching their decision, however, justices noted the court was not ruling on the validity of a law that would only address crush videos.
That language opened the door for Gallegly and other House members who wanted to stop the sale of “horrific” crush videos to introduce the new and more specific measure.
Pet owners can voice their support or concerns about the proposed bill to their Congressional Representatives.