American Booksellers Association v. Hudnut Case Brief

Summary of American Booksellers Association v. Hudnut

Facts:

Ordinance banned all pornography because it led to the degradation of women.

Issue:

Does the ordinance violate the first amendment?

Holding:

The ordinance impermissibly discriminates on the basis of point of view (pornography as a practice that discriminates against women).

Reasoning:

The ordinance discriminates on the ground of the content of the speech. Speech treating women in the approved way- in sexual encounters premised on equality, is lawful no matter how sexually explicit. Speech treating women in the disapproved way- as submissive in sexual matters or as enjoying humiliations- is unlawful no matter how significant the literary, artistic, or political qualities of the work taken as a whole. The state can’t ordain preferred viewpoints in this way.

We support the idea that depictions of subordination tend to perpetuate sexual discrimination, this isn’t valid justification.

There must be some reference to literary, artistic, political or scientific value (the Illiad would be unlawful under this ordinance).

Judgment:

Ordinance is invalid.



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