Reno V. Aclu

Topics: Supreme Court of the United States, William Rehnquist, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Pages: 4 (1029 words) Published: April 11, 2007
The parties involved were Janet Reno, attorney general (1993-2001) of the United States, which also makes her the head of the U.S. Department of Justice, she is the first woman in this position#, and the American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU). The ACLU is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserve and extend the basic rights of the U.S. constitution.#

b. The problem began when President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Reform Bill into law on February 8,1996. A group of people, led by the ACLU went to court and succeeded in temporarily stopping the implementation of the bill's "decency provisions." After this district court decision, Janet Reno appealed directly to the Supreme Court. The most controversial parts of the Communication Decency Act (CDA) were those that gave criminal penalties to those who knowingly sent any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication deemed "indecent or obscene", to a person under 18. Penalties were also put forth if this information was received by persons under 18. In addition, the "indecent" material included any information that portrayed or described "sexual or excretory activities or organs" in a way deemed "offensive" by community standards. The overall problem was that the Act was unclear and overly broad concerning what internet communications should be criminalized. #

c. The CDA was being challenged because it violated the First Amendment. In trying to keep minors away from inappropriate material the Act reduced "the freedom of speech" by restricting what adults could send over the internet. #

2) Legal Precedent:
a. Sable Communications of California v. FCC (1989) was in response to a ban on indecent and obscene interstate commercial phone messages. Sable Communications was in the dial-a-porn business. The supreme court decision was that the ban on obscene speech was valid since the constitution does not protect that, however the indecent speech was protected. #


Citations: ACLU American Civil Liberties Union. March 25,2007
ACLU American Civil Liberties Union. March 25,2007
Biography. March 25, 2007
Electronic Privacy Information Center. March 25, 2007
The UCLA Online Institute for Cyberspace Law and Policy. June 27, 1997. March 25,2007
U.S. Supreme Court Media OYEZ. March 25,2007

U.S. Supreme Court Media OYEZ. March 25,2007
U.S. Supreme Court Media OYEZ. March 25,2007
U.S. Supreme Court Media OYEZ. March 25,2007
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