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WASHINGTON, June 29, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The U.S. Supreme Court today by a 5-4 vote upheld a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), which requires commercial content-providers operating on the World Wide Web to restrict access by minors from pornography defined as “material harmful to minors.” The Court remanded the case to the federal district court in Philadelphia for a trial on the merits.

The Court’s ruling upholds a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that held that COPA is likely to be held unconstitutional in Ashcroft v. American Civil Liberties Union. The law does not prohibit Web-site operators from offering pornographic material, but merely requires proof of age before allowing an individual to view material on the Web site.

“This is a devastating defeat for kids, parents and the Constitution,” commented Jan LaRue, Concerned Women for America’s chief counsel. “Minors have no First Amendment right to view this kind of porn and smut-peddlers have no right to expose them to it. If COPA involved cigarettes and kids, the law would have been enforced without the threat of any legal challenges. And anybody who opposed it would have been an ash heap. Remember ‘Joe Camel’?”“COPA requires commercial pornographers to put an electronic blinder rack between kids and porn just as brick-and-mortar businesses are required to do. Adults use credit cards in order to purchase porn on a Web site. However, the Court decided that requiring them to do the same to view the material would likely impose too much of a burden. Hopefully the trial on the merits will prove otherwise.” LaRue concluded.  Pro-familiy groups were not surprised to see the courts most anti-life justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Paul Stevens, and David H. Souter rule against COPA.  However, it was a great disappointment to see pro-life Justice Clarence Thomas join in the majority decision.  Justice Antonin Scalia, the hero of the court for moral conservatives, argued that all pornography on the internet for “commercial purposes” could be banned under the Constitution and thus incremental measures such as COPA would be constitutional.  Jhw

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