Emory Law Journal


A growing new anti-pornography movement has arisen in reaction to the ready availability of pornography on the Internet. It seeks stricter legal prohibitions on ¿obscene¿ materials, even when viewed in private homes, and greater enforcement of existing laws. History demonstrates that these proposals are unsound for three reasons. First, ¿obscene¿ pornography is difficult to define without violating the First Amendment. Second, Prohibition demonstrates the difficulties of laws depriving citizens of goods that they desire on moral grounds they do not share. Censorship of online pornography would present similar problems. Third, any broader definition of obscenity would be inconsistent with basic First Amendment principles and a dangerous precedent for other restrictions on currently protected expression. Enforcing such a sweeping suppression on what even adults may watch in the privacy of their homes would be radically inconsistent with our liberal democracy.

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