April 20th, 2010
10:12 AM ET
10 years ago

Supreme Court strikes down law banning dogfight videos

Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court has ruled a federal law designed to stop the sale and marketing of videos showing dog fights and other acts of animal cruelty is an unconstitutional violation of free speech.

The 8-1 decision was a defeat for animal rights groups and sponsors of the unusual congressional legislation.

The specific case before the court dealt with tapes showing pit bulldogs attacking other animals and one another in staged confrontations.


Filed under: Supreme Court
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. jeff jackson, alabama

    To fight dogs is illegal.
    To sell videos of this activity is O.K.?
    Our Supreme Court should have term limits !!!

    April 20, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  2. Chas in Iowa

    This is a testimony to how low the Supreme Court has sunk.

    April 20, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  3. Robert

    Goes to show you just how blind justice is. Unbelieveable.....

    April 20, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  4. chelle

    Do you seriously believe that the founding fathers intended the First Amendment to be used in this fashion? What a crock. READ the First Amendment, look at the culture of the time and tell me this would have been the intent.

    April 20, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  5. Dar

    There are some very sick people in this world to make such a hate filled video, and I do mean hate. The people who make these video's or buy them must have a black heart.

    April 20, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  6. Annie, Atlanta

    Ok. I'm a huge free speech proponent. So let's say, for example, I want to kill another human being (strictly hypothetical for argument's sake), video the killing, and sell it on the open market. Is that free speech, too? Or is it just animals tearing apart animals that's ok?

    I'd like to know where the SCOTUS draws the line for future reference, and how they are getting away with legislating from the bench instead of interpreting. Isn't dog fighting illegal? So did this just make it legal?

    April 20, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. geecee

    Next they'll decide "snuff" films are freedom of expression under the First Amendment. Unbelievable. Who was the one Supreme Court Justice with a heart (besides just brains) who voted against the majority? Just curious. This simply sickens me!!

    April 20, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. Marc

    Fine, it's their Contitutional (and abhorrent) right.
    But let's be honest, isn't there a law against such cruelty against animals? I mean, dog fights are or not illegal?
    Because if they are, didn't the SCOTUS just ruled that recording a crime that you commited and making profir of it is legal?

    April 20, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. Loki

    Can man-on-dog action be far behind? Thanks so much, Republicans.

    April 20, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  10. Wisconsonite

    I don't understand this. If dog fighting is illegal . . .and it IS . . . how is it legal to sell and market videos showing dog fighting??!!! Wouldn't this fall under the same legal constraints as child pornography?

    April 20, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Two names: Michael Vick

    One word: UNFAIR.

    ....Over a freaking dog fight? A dog fight??? Come the hell on.

    April 20, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  12. MAD IN TEXAS

    This is why the Tea Party calls for "Taking back America" now that the Supreme Court " is full of anti-Christians and humanity they rule in favor of deadly dog fighting. Then have the gall to OK a film to be made of it. 'WE MUST, AND WE CAN, TAKE BACK THIS COUNTRY FROM THE EVIL DOERS OF SUCH AS WE HAVE NOW IN THE WHITE HOUSE". WE MUST IMPEACH THE PRESIDENT, BIDEN, PELOSI, REID AND ALL THE SUPREME COURT JUDGES OR THIS COUNTRY WILL FALL. We have stayed the strongest nation in the world for only one reason. "'ONE NATION UNDER GOD WITH LIBERTY TO ALL".

    April 20, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  13. John

    And yet somehow, the same court finds that multibillion dollar corporations are essentially people who can spend in an election.

    Crazy.

    April 20, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  14. wow

    really? so cruelty to animals is free speech? who's up for some deer vs. duck, to the death!!! pay-per-view, sunday sunday sunday!

    April 20, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. johnnyhouse

    A good decision.It brings to the public how sorry some of the people who populate this country are.Shine a light on a roach and he runs.

    April 20, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. Jin

    It is a sad comment that anyone would want to see such despicable crap, but the Court is right on this one.

    April 20, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. Burls

    This is a terrible ruling – sorry, but the profiting from animal cruelty is not a 1st amendment protection of free speech. People don't need to "express" themselves by holding illegal dogfights. Just when you think the Republicans and Democrats have screwed over this great country entirely, the Supreme Courts steps in to make sure the remaining 1% of decency is gone as well ...

    April 20, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  18. Carl Justus

    This shows just how far out of the mainstream this most activists court we have ever had has moved.

    April 20, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  19. Carl Justus

    This shows just how far out of the mainstream this most activists court we have ever had has moved.

    Chicken fights and dog fights are illegal in all the states and yet this activists courts say it infringes on the on free speech.

    April 20, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  20. BobH

    Seems right. Even if you abhor the violence, you can't ban showing it, any more than you can ban talking about it.

    I guess the exception would be obscene, violent or inflammatory video of non-consenting humans, since their right to privacy would trump free speech. But dogs don't have privacy rights.

    April 20, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  21. Carl Justus

    This shows just how far out of the mainstream this most activists court we have ever had has moved.

    Chicken fights and dog fights are illegal in all the states and yet this activists courts say it infringes on the on free speech.

    WHERE HAVE THESE ACTIVISTS BEEN??????????????

    ARE THEY FROM SOME FOREIGN COUNTRY???

    April 20, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  22. Jeff G

    Darn activist judges!

    April 20, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  23. David in Houston

    Wrong decision...

    April 20, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |