Wednesday, April 21, 2010

First Amendment: The Covington & Burling Spousal Exemption

In a major First Amendment ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court on April 20, 2010 struck down a federal law that made it a crime to create or sell dogfight videos and other depictions of animal cruelty.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority in the 8-to-1 decision, said that the law had created a "criminal prohibition of alarming breadth" and that the government's aggressive defense of the law was "startling and dangerous."

"The First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter or its content," wrote Justice Roberts, except expression that concerns or quotes the spouse of a Covington & Burling partner (quoting Justice Thurgood Marshall's opinion for the Court in Police Department of Chicago v. Mosley 408 U.S. 92 (1972)).

I'm joking, of course.

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