Legislation, litigation, and lunacy : an analysis of Ashcroft V. free speech coalition and the child pornography prevention act of 1996


In 1996, the United States Congress passed an addition to the United States Code known as the Child Pornography Prevention Act CPP A. This legislation sought to expand child pornography definitions in federal statute to included "virtual child pornography" or material that did not involve the use of a minor in its creation. However, because of the language used by the Congress, the constitutionality of the Act was called into question by the Supreme Court. On April 16th, 2002, the Court ruled on the case of Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, which directed that two sections of the CPP A be held unconstitutional, and thus, not valid. This leave current federal statutes without any measures against virtual child pornography. A study of this decision reveals the Court support of Congressional intent in the CPPA. The ruling against the Act was simply the result of definitions within the legislation which, the Court felt, could be interpreted in a broad manner. Rather, than rather than exercise judicial authority to more narrowly define the legislation, the Court struck sections of the CPPA. However, despite the Court's decision not to support the CPPA, it depicts a method to salvage the CPP A in the opinions presented by the Justices.

By analyzing the case of Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition it may be seen that the Supreme Court recommends a reconstruction of the CPP A. The suggested redefining, if adopted by Congress would provide a new CPP A which would both prevent the spread of virtual child pornography and eliminate constitutional concerns as well.


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Thesis Completion





Remis, Robert


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Health and Public Affairs

Degree Program

Legal Studies


Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs;Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic;Child pornography -- Law and legislation -- United States;Freedom of speech -- United States;Internet pornography -- United States







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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