New controls on teen, child Web access backed, despite First Amendment concerns

WASHINGTON — The 7-2 Supreme Court ruling striking down California's video game law did not dissuade advocates of new and perhaps broader laws to prohibit teenagers and children from access to objectionable Internet sites and perhaps even text messages. The court ruling was the latest in a years-long series of judgments finding Internet restrictions and censorship are trumped by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. But for proponents of the Do Not Track Online Act of 2011, First Amendment concerns are not a problem. At the very moment the Supreme Court was handing down its decision, a panel was…

Waiting for Another Watergate

What is the most powerful political operation in the country in this 21st century? It's the United States Supreme Court. The men and women in black are on their way to deciding their second national election in just the first decade of the century. In the year 2000, the justices stopped the counting of votes in the presidential election. This year they tilted (or mutilated) congressional elections by ruling – in the case called Citizens United – that corporations are people, only more so. What they ruled was that corporations (and unions) or groups they sponsor have the right to…

Bloggers and the First Amendment: Shield Law Test

(Note: This is the second in a series of posts about this topic by Kelsey Browne & Ariel Fox) Finally, on its 17th try, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send the proposed Federal Shield Law to the floor. This is promising, particularly because the Senate bill's definition of who would be eligible for Shield Law protection – as it currently stands – is pretty good for bloggers, and better than the House bill's definition. As we discussed previously, the House's version restricts coverage to those who receive a substantial portion of their livelihood or substantial financial gain from their…