Yesterday the Supreme Court put the final nail in the coffin of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), refusing to hear the Bush administration's appeal of the lower court rulings that prevented the law from taking effect. Passed in 1998, COPA was the successor to the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which the Supreme Court unanimously overturned in 1997. Both laws were attempts to shield children from inappropriate online material, and both were rejected by the courts because of the burdens they imposed on constitutionally protected speech. The upshot is that we've had a decade and a half without a federal law aimed at keeping kids away from Internet porn, and somehow the republic has managed to survive.
Previous reason coverage of COPA, including pieces by Kerry Howley, Julian Sanchez, and me, here.