The Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010 was an animal cruelty prevention law aimed at videos showing women in high heels crushing small animals. While the law took aim at these videos, it ended up being used to target Robert Stevens instead. United States v. Stevens is a landmark case that may be the most important First Amendment decision of the 21st Century so far, but not many people have heard of it. It centers around Robert Stevens, a pit bull enthusiast who was charged with violating the crush video law in March 2004. The case eventually led the Supreme Court to make an important clarification about how we decide what speech is protected under the First Amendment.
In this episode of Make No Law, the First Amendment Podcast by Popehat.com, host Ken White examines United States v. Stevens and the question of whether the government can continually come to the Supreme Court with potential exceptions to the First Amendment. The episode features input from Marc Randazza, a nationally-known First Amendment and intellectual property attorney. It also examines other relevant cases including New York v. Ferber, a 1982 case in which the Supreme Court decided that the government could punish distribution of child pornography even if it didn’t meet the Miller test for obscenity.