October 6th, 2009
06:35 PM ET
5 years ago

High court debates dog fighting videos

Selling depictions of animal cruelty like this amateur dogfighting video may be illegal under a 1999 statute.
Selling depictions of animal cruelty like this amateur dogfighting video may be illegal under a 1999 statute.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Supreme Court voiced deep free speech concerns Tuesday about a law designed to stop the sale and marketing of videos showing dog fights and other acts of animal cruelty.

The justices heard an hour of lively debate about the scope and intent of the decade-old statute that supporters say has done much to stop the spread of profiting from the torture and abuse of animals.

But media groups and the National Rifle Association were among those who say the law is overly broad.

"It's not up to the government to decide what are people's worst instincts," said Justice Antonin Scalia. "One can contemplate a lot of other areas, where government could say: You are appealing to people's worst instincts, and, therefore, movies cannot be made" showing dramatized depictions of animals being abused, for example.

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Filed under: Supreme Court
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Matt

    It is unbelievable that there are people in this world who get turned on by these "crush" videos.
    That sort of thing is disgusting.

    October 6, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  2. ccc

    ya they have nothing to do to debate dog fight

    October 6, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  3. AJ

    More brilliant words of wisdom from Scalia. The man is a disgusting human being and one can only pray that he is forced to suffer the misery that his beliefs have caused others.

    October 6, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  4. Marie Laveaux

    Time after time, it has been demonstrated that animal cruelty is the first step toward becoming a murderer, or serial killer. Animal cruelty is illegal in all states. It should be treated no differently than child pornography, that is, these movies should not be made or marketed.

    October 6, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  5. JR

    I guess I don't understand, if the action recorded is illegal, then why on earth would it be legal to sell videos of an illegal action?

    October 6, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  6. Joyce

    This is one more step towards the fall of the US as a moral and just country. Cruelty, whether it be to humans or other animals, should not exist. If the Supreme Court can not take a stand on this, then who can? I
    have never heard of "crush" movies and can't believe that anybody would find pleasure in doing this or observing this act. I tried to raise my children and grandchildren as good, moral people and do not want them exposed to this kind of sickness.

    Stop and think: the recent 2×4 beating of a youth in Chicago is a result of the decadence and lack of respect and caring for others existing in our current society.

    October 6, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  7. Ron Ft. Myers

    Then why was Michael Vick sent to prison?

    October 6, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    As a member of PETA I can say I am glad the Obama administration is doing something about this. It's been WAY too long since we've had a President who cares for all of nature

    October 6, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  9. Ryan

    Abuse is NOT SPEECH! It's a A VERB!!

    The fact that it's even open for debate is insane.

    At some point, America needs choose to take the high road and affirmate ourselves as a CIVALIZED nation.

    October 6, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  10. New Yorker

    There is a "compelling interest" in banning pornography; how about they start with that.

    October 6, 2009 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  11. Ken

    Bye, Bye Animal Planet! Marketing dog fighting videos (as well as countless other videos of animals maining people/ people maining animals/ animals maining animals) is how they stay on the air!

    October 6, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  12. OMG

    High court debates dog fighting videos

    -----

    I give up !!!!!!!!

    October 6, 2009 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  13. The black Spider

    Very soon chickens and cows will have their right and we can't eat no meat because we killed them by billions every day. Don't they have a right too?
    What is a defition of pet who is classifying what is pet now in america

    October 6, 2009 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  14. Lucky B

    Why am I not surprised that Scalia and his right-wing religious court cronies would be perfectly comfortable with the depiction of abuse and torture of innocent animals? After all, they are all over "protecting the unborn" but have no interest in providing for those who are born and have human needs. Ghandi said that a society will be judged by how we treat our animals. The Roberts court is sure to side with the NRA on this one. It is so hypocritical, but not surprising, that these "justices" call themselves good, religious people and sanctimoniously attend Mass. Pharisees, all.
    They would probably congratulate Michael Vick as being an enterprising business man catering to the free market.

    October 6, 2009 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |