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Ashcroft v ACLU

The Supreme Court will rule for the third time on attempts by Congress to shield children from sexually explicit material on the Internet. In passing the Child Online Protection Act, Congress made it a crime to display indecent material to viewers under 17 and required that Internet providers use some method, such as a credit card, to screen out minors. Because of court challenges, the law has yet to be enforced.

  • If the government wins, the law would be upheld, and Internet content providers would either have to remove sexual material that the law defines as "harmful" to minors or create a way for users to verify that they are adults before the material can be viewed.
  • If the government loses, Congress will undoubtedly try yet again to come up with a law that will meet with the Supreme Court's approval. Previous attempts have been struck down as too broad, violating the Constitution's freedom of expression guarantees.