EFF, ACLU, et al. v. Dept. of Justice (ACLU v. Reno)

link to the latest news (updated frequently to point to he most-recently-added case update).
EFF press release on Supreme Court ruling against Communications Decency Act, lauding the ruling as a major victory for free speech, and looking at some of the main points of the ruling, such as the courts finding that the CDA would figuratively "torch a large segment of the Internet community."
Software Publishers Assoc. and Recreational Software Advisory Council press release giving industry perspective on Supreme Court ruling against the Communications Decency Act. The trade groups applaud the ruling and advance private-sector solutions to the issue of parental control over children's online experience.
White House press release about the Supreme Court ruling against the Communications Decency Act. Administration says it stands behind enforcement of laws against distribution of online obscenity and child porn (material that has no constitutional protection, in other words) - a postion most believe the Admin. should have taken originally instead of backing the CDA.
Unanimous US Supreme Court decision striking down the Communications Decency Act as an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment.
June 24 announcement of a San Francisco free speech rally on the day of the Supreme Court decision in the Communications Decency Act case.
News release - Supreme Court announces it will hear the appeal of ACLU v. Reno (the Philadelphia anti-CDA constitutional challenge). While this does not indicate any predisposition of the Court to rule one way or the other, it is a good sign. Many cases challenging indecency regulation in broadcasting have met with the Supreme Court declining to hear the cases.
Briefing Schedule for Supreme Court Appeal of CDA Constitutionality Challenge (ACLU v. Reno, ALA v. DoJ merged case), as of Dec. 1996
EFF statement on anti-censorship ruling in CDA case.
Landmark decision in the ACLU v. Reno challenge to the Communications Decency Act. 3-judge panel rules CDA unconstitutional, issues injuntion against enforcement. Judges say Net deserves "at least as much protection" for free speech as print media! HTML version available at: http://www.eff.org/pub/Censorship/Exon_bill/HTML/960612_aclu_v_reno_decision.html
Family Research Council's insulting and weak response to the CDA decision, in which they label the court "arrogant" and "ACLU-hand-picked" (which is an impossibility, as plaintiffs get the judges that are assigned to them, and do not have an opportunity to pick and choose.) The sheer animal rage in this press release so clouded their copyediting skills that the statement closes with nonesense phrases like "We should not squander the opportunity to examine and appreciate a world where pornography knows no bounds."
CDA originator Sen. James Exon's press release on the CDA court ruling. Like the FRC statement, Exon's is incredibly weak. As usual Exon seems entirely unable to recognize the clear legal fact that "indecency" does not mean "pornography", or the equally clear legal fact that Supreme Court rulings on "indecency" are extremely medium-dependent, and cannot be generalized to cover all media.
CIEC Trial Update and statement on the anti-CDA court ruling
EF-Georgia statement on anti-censorship ruling in CDA case.
Mike Godwin (EFF Staff Counsel) analysis of the final oral arguements (on May 12).
CIEC case update: Court Orders DOJ to Halt "Reviews" Under the CDA; Transcripts from All 6 days of Court Testimony Now Online
CIEC press release regarding CDA case judges' injunction against investigations of CDA violation, spurred by FBI "reviewing" CompuServe at the behest of theocratic pro-censorship organizations. NOTE: This is not the injunction at the plaintiffs are seeking in this case, but a temporary injunction pending the courts' decision on plaintiff's motion for a long-term injunction.
Court order placing an injuction upon FBI (or any other) investigations of CDA-related complaints until and unless the judges issue a ruling favorable to the government (sparked by FBI investigation of CompuServe for CDA violation, against orders of court and the DoJ's own agreements).
The DoJ's flimsy, cheesy, flawed defense; Judges question DoJ investigation of CompuServe; "The Newspaper Decency Act"?
CIEC case update: Hearings Conclude in CDA Challenge; Decision Expected Soon; A Newspaper Decency Act?
Craig A. Johnson, _American_Reporter_ correspondent, analyzes the CDA testimony in Phildelphia: "As government lawyers headed off into the foggy Philadelphia afternoon, the words of Judge Stewart Dalzell in Federal court here yesterday still rang in the minds of courtroom observers: In order to preserve the Internet 'as the most democratic medium that the human mind has come up with yet, a chilling effect is something we have to consider' as the panel rules on the CDA..."
ACLU's May 10 trial update: plaintiffs succeeded in making three essential points to the court - 1) The Communications Decency Act is a criminal statute with criminal penalties; 2) The law is aimed specifically at speech that is constitutionally protected; 3) The government's tagging scheme would force every American to censor him/herself to avoid risk of criminal prosecution.
EFF/ACLU & ALA/CIEC plaintiffs' closing arguments (144K)
govt. defendant's closing arguments (211K)
EFF/ACLU short rebuttal to defendant (government) closing arguments.
full text of court transcript, May 10 1996 (~380K)
From the Netly News: Declan McCullagh's May 10 dispatch from the Philadelphia courtroom on the last day of the hearing. The judges were decidedly unsympathetic to the DoJers -- McCullagh offers 3:1 odds against the CDA.
Under questioning from the judges, both of the government witnesses testified that they understood "indecent" or "patently offensive" to include politcal speech and non-explicit images.
ALA Plaintiffs' post-hearing brief in support of motion for preliminary injunction. Abstract: "...the CDA effectively bans an enormous quantity of speech that is constitutionally protected for adults, because the "safe harbor" defenses provided in the Act do not provide technologically or economically feasible means... Defendants, in response, have attempted to avoid consideration of the CDA's actual impact on plaintiffs' speech, because they cannot justify that actual impact in view of the long line of Supreme Court precedents holding that government is not permitted to reduce the adult population to reading and viewing only what is appropriate for children. Yet that is precisely what Congress did here, and that is why the CDA must be enjoined."
Excerpts from DoJ and anti-porn groups' April 29 briefs, typed in by Declan McCullagh.
Department of Justice letter responding to the American Family Association request for an investigation of CompuServe
CIEC case update: Testimony Concludes in CDA Legal Challenge: Government Only Calls Two Witnesses, Closing Arguments Set for May 10
Government Witness: Censor First, Ask Questions Later; Plaintiffs Waive Rebuttal of Government Testimony; Oral Arguments Moved Up to Friday, May 10th
Testimony of govt. "expert" witness, Dan Olsen (180K)
transcript of closing arguments of both sides (34K)
full text of court transcript, Apr. 15 1996 (~220K)
CIEC case update: Government Argues CDA is Necessary and Not Overly Restrictive; Government Witness Proposes Content Labeling Standard; SurfWatch Blocks Government "Expert"
testimony of Dr. Daniel Olsen (government "expert" witness of questionable relevance or expertise).
testimony of Dr. Albert Vezza (MIT/WWW Consortium expert witness for ALA/CIEC plaintiffs)
testimony of Howard Schmidt, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, government (defendant) witness
full text of court transcript, Apr. 12 1996 (~480K)
CIEC case update: Pre-Trial Update - Government To Present Its Defense of CDA Beginning Friday April 12; List of Government Witnesses Expected to Testify; Schedule for Remainder of Trial; Transcripts of the Frist Two Days of Testimony Now Online!
Declan McCullagh's April 9, 1996 dispatch on the Cherry v. Reno case and the DoJ's unethical inclusion of the Rimm study.
Government Calls Two Witnesses - MIT Expert Will Testify for Plaintiffs on PICS Standards
Plaintiff's witnesses testify: Bill Burrington (AOL), Stephen Donaldson (Stop Prisoner Rape), Andrew Anker (HotWired), Howard Rheingold (author), Barry Steinhardt (ACLU)
Trial update - more EFF/ACLU/CIEC/ALA/CDT testimony & DoJ cross-examination. (Despite the date, it's for real. Not an April fool posting. :-)
testimony of William Burrington (AOL director of public policy), plaintiffs' witness (162K)
testimony of Stephen Donaldson, president of Stop Prisoner Rape, plaintiff's witness (10K)
testimony of author Howard Rheingold, plaintiff's witness; Rheingold testifies about virtual community, and the CDA's likely effect upon it. (66K)
testimony of Barry Steinhardt, associate director of plaintiff ACLU.
full text of court transcript, Apr. 1 1996 (~350K)
Brief look at upcoming witnesses
Trial update - more EFF/ACLU/CIEC/ALA/CDT testimony & DoJ cross-examination.
In the first two days of trial in the battle for free speech in cyberspace, a three-judge panel heard testimony from plaintiffs who fear censorship under the new telecommunications law and took a first-ever live courtroom tour of the Internet.
Testimony of Donna Hoffman, professor, Vanderbilt University, for plaintiffs (170K)
Testimony of Robert Croneberger, director, Carnegie Library, for plaintiffs (45K)
Testimony of Scott Bradner, Internet Engineering Task Force, for plaintiffs (94K)
full text of court transcript, Feb. 22 1996 (~315K)
Background briefing: The case, the judges, the witnesses, and the testimony.
preliminary plaintiff witness list for Mar. 21, Mar. 22, and Apr. 1
Testimony of Scott Bradner, Internet Engineering Task Force, for plaintiffs (170K)
Testimony of Ann Duvall, President of Surfwatch, for plaintiffs (120K)
Testimony of Kiyoshi Kuromiya, Director of Critical AIDS Path Project, for plaintiffs (30K)
Testimony of Patricia Nell Warren, publisher, Wildcat Press, for plaintiffs (13K)
Testimony of Dr. William R. Stayton, psychologist, for plaintiffs
full text of court transcript, Feb. 21 1996 (~420K)
chronology of the case to date
Pre-trial update: Declarations of CIEC/EFF/ALA/ACLU/CDT side's witnesses
Afternoon trial update: Live from the courtroom; CIEC/EFF/ALA/ACLU/CDT side demonstrates what the Net and content filtration are and how they work.
Evening trial update: more on net/filtration-related testimony, and testimony on threats to small online service providers.
Amici curiae brief in support of plaintiffs - numerous organizations and individuals illustrate in detail why the CDA is overbroad.
Pre-trial update: what to expect from the 3-judge appellate court hearings.
Brief in support of an injunction against enforcement of the CDA. ALA and other plaintiffs rip the CDA to shreds.
CDT newsletter announcement of Citizens' Internet Empowerment Coalition request for CDA injunction, and case update
Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition Litigation Fact Sheet. Includes list of CIEC member organizations and named plaintiffs; does not, of course, include list of all 40,000+ individual members! (Mar. 96)
Complaint filed by Center for Democracy & Technology, the Citizen's Internet Empowerment Coalition, People for the American Way, Freedom to Read Foundation, American Library Assoc., American Booksellers Assoc., American Soc. of Newspaper Editors, Assoc. of American Publishers, and many other organizations, as well as Wired/HotWired, Apple Computer, the Commercial Internet Exchange, and numerous online services (with the CIEC representing over 30,000 individual online service users.) This lawsuit, like the EFF/ACLU suit with which it was merged in Mar. 1996, challenges the constitutionality of the Communications Decency Amendment of the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996.
CDT newsletter announcement of formation of Citizens' Internet Empowerment Coalition to fight CDA in court.
ACLU case update: Government Agrees Not to Investigate or Prosecute Internet "Indecency" Until Three-Judge Court Rules on Case
_American_Reporter_ comment on the issuance of the TRO in the ACLU/EFF/et al. v. DoJ case. Somewhat caustic, as AR does not appear to be protected by the TRO. AR has filed a separate lawsuit challenging the CDA.
Judge Buckwalter's decision granting a TRO enjoining enforcement of the "indecency" (but not anti-abortion-info or "patent offensiveness") censorship restriction in the Telecom bill, until a 3-judge panel has time to review plaintiffs request for a long term preliminary injunction against *all* of these provisions. The judge agreed that the indecency restrictions are unconstitional and pose an imminent threat, but did not seem to feel this way, for some reason, about the other provisions. A vital, but only partial, victory for free speech in one battle of what will be along war.
ACLU case update: Judge Grants Temporary Restraining Order on Indecency Provisions; Partial Victory, But Netizens Beware
Defendant's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (The Department of Justice's Response to the ACLU's Request for temporary blockage of CDA enforcement.) (100K)
Dept. of Justice letter to Al Gore (in his less visible capacity as President of the Senate). This gist: "This is to inform you that the Department of Justice will not defend the constitutionality of the abortion-related speech provision of 1462 in those cases, in light of the Department's longstanding policy to decline to enforce...abortion-related speech prohibitions... because they are unconstitutional under the First Amendment."
the full text of the ACLU/EFF/+others complaint (lawsuit) filed Feb. 8, 1996 to challenge the Comms. Decency section of the '96 Telecom Reform Act, on constitutionality grounds.
Plaintiff's memorandum of law in support of a motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.
Affidavit in support of motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, from Electronic Privacy Info. Center's Marc Rotenberg.
ACLU case update: Judge Sets Date for Government to File Reply Brief; Government Agrees Not to Prosecute for 7 days
ACLU's press release about the filing of the ACLU/EFF/et al. constitutional challenge against the CDA.
American Civil Liberties Union press release regarding the EFF/ACLU/EPIC/et al. suit challenging the CDA on Constitutional grounds
EFF press release regarding the important lawsuit filed Feb. 8, 1996 challenging the constitutionality of the 1996 Telecom Bill's "Communications Decency" amendment, and seeking an injunction against enforcement of this terrible new law until the case as a whole is decided.
Electronic Privacy Info. Center's press release regarding the EFF/ACLU/EPIC/et al. suit challenging the CDA on Constitutional grounds.
list of plaintiffs in EFF/ACLU case, with descriptions (excerpted from the complaint). Does NOT include plaintiffs in the CIEC/CDT/ALA case, which has been merged with the EFF/ACLU case. See the CIEC/CDT/ALA complaint for those plaintiffs. (Feb. 7 1996)
ACLU Denounces Passage of Telecom Bill and Prepares to Challenge Online Censorship Provisions
ACLU Announces Plans to Challenge Online Censorship Provisions; Says That House Conference Vote Leaves No Other Options

Related On-Site Resources

Full text of the ACLU v. Reno (and ALA v. DoJ) case decision, upholding free speech in cyberspace
(HTML edition by Bob Bickford.)
EFF "American Reporter v. Dept. of Justice (Shea v. Reno)" Archive
EFF "CRLP v. Dept. of Justice (Sanger v. Reno)" Archive
EFF "Communications Decency Act" Archive

Links to Related Off-Site Resources

Another fully HTMLized version of the ruling
(Provided by Jim Robinson)
Very handy summary and analysis of the CDA unconstitutionality decision in the PA federal court (June 12, 1996)
(Prepared by EPIC.)
EPIC's archive on this case
CIEC web site
Telecom Act Litigation from Schnader, Harrison Segal & Lewis
a law firm which filed an amicus brief in support of plaintiffs.