WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 (UPI) — A skeptical U.S. Supreme Court heard argument Tuesday on the constitutionality of a federal law that bans videos or other depictions of animal cruelty.
The 1999 law was intended to specifically target fetish “crush videos” that depict small animals being stomped by barefoot women. However, the law also bans the production and sale of any visual or auditory depiction of animal cruelty, if the conduct is illegal under state or federal law, SCOTUSBLOG.com reported.
The case before the high court began with Robert Stevens, 69, of the Pittsville, Va., area, who produced a video that included scenes of dog fighting in Japan. Stevens was convicted in Pittsburgh in 2005 of violating the federal law and sentenced to three years in prison.
But the law was struck down by a U.S. appeals court panel in Philadelphia as unconstitutional.
Tuesday, only Justice Samuel Alito seemed sympathetic to the Obama administration’s argument that the law did not violate free speech, or that it was not too broadly worded, SCOTUSBLOG said.
A decision should be handed down later in the term.
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