Answering the question of why we are seeing such a dramatic rise in sexual harassment complaints, a professor of law at the University of California, San Francisco, told the New York Times the “real reason is that there’s an epidemic of pornography.”
“We’ve had the same phenomenon in the U.S. in the 1970s,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gellman, a scholar on pornography and human sexuality at the university.
“The question is, how much has that changed in the past few years?”
In the 1970, the Supreme Court ruled in a landmark case, St. Paul v.
Minnesota that pornography constituted “an obscene work that, as such, constitutes a ‘crime against nature.'”
It was a seminal decision, but the idea of a “crackdown on pornography” has been a consistent refrain since then.
The argument goes that pornography is inherently immoral and that there is a moral obligation to protect children from it.
It is often used as an excuse to censor and punish speech.
The problem with that argument is that the courts have repeatedly ruled that there are other legitimate purposes for regulating pornography.
“Pornography,” for example, is often a vehicle for sex trafficking, and pornography itself is a means for people to express themselves sexually.
“In the United States, for example,” said Gellmann, “there’s a great deal of interest in protecting the safety of young girls and women.
The problem is that most of the evidence suggests that pornography contributes to the problems of adolescent sexual development.”
The idea of regulating pornography was first articulated by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote in the 1977 case United States v.
United States: “Possession of pornographic material is not an offense for which the government has a legitimate interest.”
But the idea has been embraced by many liberals who see it as a way to curb the spread of speech that could be construed as obscenity.
“We have seen this from the beginning,” Gellaman said.
“I don’t think that there was any great desire to have pornography taken away, but they just assumed that because the First Amendment protects pornography, it means it must be taken away.”
In the end, however, the courts seem to have abandoned that approach.
“It is increasingly clear that the First and Fourteenth Amendments do not protect the content of any speech,” said Justice Clarence Thomas in his dissent in the Supreme Ct. ruling.
“And in fact, the Court’s holding in St. Thomas strikes me as being both wrong and, if I may say so, unconstitutional.”
In an opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, he added: “The Government has never asserted that a speech must be protected in order to be protected by the First or Fourteenth Amendment.”
But the court is not the only institution that has been open to the idea.
In 2013, the New Yorker published a book called “What the Court Won’t Say,” by journalist and author Jonathan Chait, which was a sort of “pornographic manifesto” for the conservative legal academy.
The book argued that the “crisis of pornography” could be resolved by allowing the First, Fourth and Eighth Amendments to protect speech that “is often thought to be obscene or sexually suggestive.”
Chait’s book was based on a series of interviews with former law professors who worked at the law schools at which he taught and that the professors “had a strong interest in the First amendment.”
Chatsay told the Times that he was “deeply concerned” about the growing use of pornography as a vehicle to control speech and that it was important to have a “safe space” for people of all kinds to discuss issues that are sensitive to their beliefs.
“You can’t censor anything,” he said.
The Supreme Court, which has made it clear that it will take no stand on issues like the First Amendmenary, has not commented on the book, but its decision to hear the case suggests that it may want to take a more aggressive stance against pornography.
As part of its ruling, the court asked the lawyers involved in the case to provide their analysis of the First Ammendment and whether the First “interprets it in a manner that violates the constitutional rights of the speaker.”
In a footnote, the justices wrote that the court did not find that the book “supports” the First ammendment.