Justice Stevens smacks down his possible “moderate” replacement?
While the left and the media are making it look like the evil Chief Justice Roberts condones the most horrible sort of cruelty to animals, it’s worth reading the first four pages of the actual opinion to get the feel of his ruling and to think about what the media is not reporting.
For those of you who didn’t see it yesterday, a federal law got passed which was intended at stopping production and sales of videos showing horrible animal cruelty related to a particularly disgusting sexual fetish. Some scumbag was tried and convicted, but the 3rd Circuit overturned the ruling. It went to the Supreme Court and they concurred, though apparently with different reasoning. Roberts wrote the opinion, so he deserves to die at the hands of PETA, right? Well, not so fast….
Possible Stevens replacement Elena Kagan – you know, the one who is more moderate than other candidate Diane Wood – argued on behalf of the law in question. She argued that the law was good because it did indeed shut down these perverts. The argument against it was based on freedom of speech. She wanted the Court to balance free speech rights against the good that resulted. Roberts wrote the opinion saying that’s all fine and dandy, but there’s a BIG problem with the law in that it is so vaguely worded that it could be interpreted to allow prosecution of people creating perfectly legal hunting videos for example. Some excerpts from the syllabus, showing the smackdown of Kagan but, in a part the left is ignoring, leaving the door open to fixing the law.
Section 48 creates a criminal prohibition of alarming breadth.
Despite the Government’s assurance that it will apply §48 to reach only “extreme” cruelty, this Court will not uphold an unconstitutional statute merely because the Government promises to use it responsibly.
This construction of §48 decides the constitutional question. The Government makes no effort to defend §48 as applied beyond crush videos and depictions of animal fighting.
The Court therefore does not decide whether a statute limited to crush videos or other depictions of extreme animal cruelty would be constitutional. Section 48 is not so limited but is instead substantially overbroad, and therefore invalid under the First Amendment.
It was a total smackdown of all of her arguments. Stevens joined the Roberts opinion. In fact, all the liberals did – everyone except Alito, who went through laws of every state to try to argue that the application here was okay. All sorts of free speech groups agreed that it was too broad as well.
Isn’t this exactly what we want the Supreme Court to do? They are supposed to interpret what the law SAYS, not what it would have said had the law been written differently. If there was any question as to whether Kagan believed in judicial activism, we now know the answer.