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New caselaw - Child Online Protection Act

[JURIST] ACLU v. Ashcroft [PDF opinion] (March 6, US Third Circuit Court of Appeals [official website]). A panel of the Court upheld a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the Child Online Protection Act [text], restricting minors' access to harmful websites. Judge Leonard Garth wrote: "The District Court did not abuse its discretion in granting the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction on the grounds that COPA, in failing to satisfy strict scrutiny, had no probability of success on the merits. COPA is clearly a content-based restriction on speech. Although it does purport to serve a compelling governmental interest, it is not narrowly tailored, and thus fails strict scrutiny. COPA also fails strict scrutiny because it does not use the least restrictive means to achieve its ends. The breadth of the "harmful to minors" and "commercial purposes" text of COPA, especially in light of applying community standards to a global medium and the burdens on speech created by the statute's affirmative defenses, as well as the fact that Congress could have, but failed to employ the least restrictive means to accomplish its legitimate goal, persuade us that the District Court did not abuse its discretion in preliminarily enjoining the enforcement of COPA."

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