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United States v. American Library Association, Inc. (2003)  [Findlaw]

Argument Date 03/05/2003
Decided 6/23/2003
Supreme Court Vote 6-3
IssueWhether the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) induces public libraries to violate the 1st Amendment, thereby exceeding Congress's power under the Spending Clause by providing that a library that is otherwise eligible for special federal assistance for Internet access in the form of discount rates for educational purposes under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. 254(h), or grants under the Library Services and Technology Act, 20 U.S.C. 9121 et seq., may not receive that assistance unless the library has in place a policy that includes the operation of a “technology protection measure” on Internet-connected computers that protects against access by all persons to “visual depictions” that are “obscene” or “child pornography,” and that protects against access by minors to “visual depictions” that are “harmful to minors,” a condition of the receipt of federal funding.
Majority Opinion Rehnquist, C.J. (plurality)
Concurring Opinion Breyer, J., Kennedy, J.
Dissenting Opinion Stevens, J., Souter, J.
Certiorari Granted 11/12/2002
Lower Court Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Lower Court Ruling In American Library Association v. U.S. (2002), the Federal District Court sustained the First Amendment claim.
Oral Arguments Transcript
For Petitioner
Theodore Olson, Department of Justice

For Respondent
Paul M. Smith

News Stories & Commentary
Filters and freedom: Why the Supreme Court upheld library limits

High court backs use of Net filters in libraries

High court to consider library Net filtering

Medill School of Journalism (cert. grant.)

Ruling - Lower Court
American Library Association v. U.S. (ED, PA, 2002)

Tony Mauro Analysis
High court leans toward allowing library Net filtering

Library filtering backers, foes foresee victory as Supreme Court takes case

Library filtering foes lose high court's war of words

Corn-Revere, Robert, "United States v. American Library Association: A Missed Opportunity for the Supreme Court to Clarify Application of First Amendment Law to Publicly Funded Expressive Institutions" (Cato Supreme Court Review, 2002-2003)

Sobel, David L., Report, "Internet Filters and Public Libraries"

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