Friday, December 27, 2013

American Booksellers Association v. Hudnut case brief

American Booksellers Ass’n v. Hudnut case brief summary
771 F.2d 323 (7th Cir. 1985), aff’d mem., 475 U.S. 1001 (1986)

Defendants appealed from an order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, declaring p-rngraphy ordinance unconstitutional.

Defendant city enacted an ordinance defining "p-rngraphy" as a practice that discriminated against women. "P-rnography" was to be redressed through the administrative and judicial methods used for other discrimination. Defendant city's definition of "p-rnography" was considerably different from "obscenity." The ordinance did not refer to the prurient interest, to offensiveness, or to the standards of the community. Plaintiffs were of distributors and readers of books, magazines, and films. Collectively plaintiffs (or their members, whose interests they represent) made, sold, or read just about every kind of material that could be affected by the ordinance. The district court held the ordinance unconstitutional finding it regulated speech rather than conduct and prevented the ordinance from taking effect.

The court of appeals agreed and affirmed holding the ordinance discriminated on the ground of the content of the speech.

The judgment was affirmed; the ordinance did not define p-rnography in terms of prurient interest, offensiveness, or standards of the community and, thus, was not treated as unprotected obscenity, and the unconstitutional language of the ordinance was not severable.

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