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Roberts Recognizes Lesser Protection For Porn - Broadcasting & Cable

Roberts Recognizes Lesser Protection For Porn

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U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice nominee John Roberts agrees that court precedent has established a lesser protection for pornographic speech than for political or "core" speech, but that, in a judicial sense, he won't know porn until he sees it.

That tidbit came in response to questioning from Mike DeWyne (R-Ohio), who pointed out that two Internet-related speech bills, the Child Online Pornography Act and Communications Decency Act had both been struck down by the courts.

But, as careful with his answer to that question as he has been with so many others, Roberts did not indicate what level of protection that graphic speech deserved.

"The difficulty that the court has addressed...is always defining what is or is not pornography and what is entitled to protection under the First Amendment and what is not," Roberts said.

He said the courts had found that "certain types of speech, like child pornography, are not entitled to protection. There are different categories and the court has struggled over the years in figuring out how to determine what belongs in what category. Beyond that I do not think I can give a more precise answer."

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