Justices Question Animal Cruelty Law


Ten years ago Congress passed a law banning video and other depictions of animal cruelty, but the Supreme Court is likely to decide that the law is too broad and vague.


Justice Alito was the only Justice who seemed inclined to support the law. In response to a lawyer’s argument that historically depictions of animal cruelty have been under the umbrella of the First Amendment, he suggested that technology may have removed some of that protection.

Justice Alito: Well, isn’t that due to changes in technology?  Before people could watch videos at home, this sort of thing would be very difficult.


Attorney Patricia Millett: This covers photographs, . . . .  I’m not sure it wouldn’t cover sketch artists or a hieroglyphic, for all I know.

Justice Alito: And is there – – – in the real world is there a market for sketches of dog fights?


WaPo story here.

Art Lien

Courtartist is me, Art Lien. I've been sketching the courts since 1976, and for most of that time the U.S. Supreme Court has been my regular beat. I've been working almost exclusively for NBC News since 1980. Courtroom sketching is a form of visual journalism or reportage drawing that is slowly dying out. Where once upon a time news organization each had their own artist covering a story, today a "pool" artist often sketches for all. It is a demanding and stressful discipline where the drawing is often done directly and under tight deadline.

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