Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Breaking News: COPA IS DEAD!

It's finally game over for the ill-named Child Online Protection Act.

This is the sequel to the Communications Decency Act (thus earning the name CDA 2.0) that would have outlawed anything considered "indecent" online. The original CDA, incorporated into the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996, was seriously neutered by the Supreme Court in the classic decision Reno v. ACLU. This is where the majority decision declared that the Internet was the greatest possible forum for free speech and thus deserved the greatest possible protection from government intrusion under the First Amendment.

The government responded in 1998 by passing COPA, which supposedly was designed to address specific areas of the Internet and required specific changes in websites in order to "protect children". President Bill Clinton knew that this law would not pass constitutional muster and yet he violated his Oath of Office and signed it into law anyway, saying that it was "for the courts to decide", even though they had already decided in the Reno v. ACLU decision.

The Supreme Court actually gave COPA two chances to survive. The first was when they reversed a lower court decision saying that it could not issue a blanket restraining order without first having a hearing. But thsoe same five justices did warn the government that the law WOULD PROBABLY NOT pass constitutional muster should it come before them. The White House, then under the control of the Bush Imperium, dragged their ass during the hearing, hoping to wear out the plaintiff through attrition. They failed, and the law was ruled unconstitutional.

And now the Supreme Court has put the final nail in the coffin of COPA/CDA2.0 by refusing to review the decision and let stand the lower court's ruling.

This is a law that never should have been written. It was crafted in vengeance, pushed into action by self-rightous special interest groups, signed into law by a president that violated his Oath of Office, and defended by TWO White House tenures that didn't care about the Constitution.

The good news is that it is DEAD. Hopefully it will NOT come back again through some other legislation... but I wouldn't be the farm on that.

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