WASHINGTON, April 17, 2002 ( – On Tuesday the US Supreme Court struck down two provisions of a law against child pornography. Two sections of the 1996 Child Pornography Prevention Act, one banning computer-generated “virtual child pornography” and another prohibiting sexually explicit images promoted as involving minors, were declared unconstitutional since they were found to be overly broad and thus hampering free speech.

The votes on striking down the provisions were 7-2 on the first and 6-3 on the second. Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Antonin Scalia dissented.

Attorney General John Ashcroft was outraged by the decision and moved to ease rules requiring approval by the local U.S. attorney to pursue criminal charges under the child pornography law. “I am disappointed that the court chose to make that obligation to prosecute child pornography more difficult,” Ashcroft said. “However, I am undeterred in my resolve to do all that I can to protect our children from the pornographers and other predators who would prey on their innocence.”

See the Supreme Court ruling:  The case is Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 00-795.

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