CIPA Quotable Quotes

I\’ve pulled out the good stuff from the CIPA decision for reading below.
My favorite quotable comes from Souter:

\”Quite simply one can smell a rat when a library blocks material already in its control, just as we do when a library removes books from its shelves for reasons having nothing to do with wear and tear, obsolescence or lack of demand.

I\’ve pulled out the good stuff from the CIPA decision for reading below.
My favorite quotable comes from Souter:

\”Quite simply one can smell a rat when a library blocks material already in its control, just as we do when a library removes books from its shelves for reasons having nothing to do with wear and tear, obsolescence or lack of demand.Rehnquist, for the majority:

“The accessibility of this material has created serious problems for libraries, which have found that patrons of all ages, including minors, regularly search for online pornography.”

“Congress has wide latitude to attach conditions to the receipt of federal assistance in order to further its policy objectives.”

“public libraries pursue the worthy missions of facilitating learning and cultural enrichment”.

“To fulfill their traditional missions, public libraries must have broad discretion to decide what material to provide to their patrons. Although they seek to provide a wide array of information, their goal has never been to provide “universal coverage.” Instead, public libraries seek to provide materials “that would be of greatest direct benefit or interest to the community.” To this end, libraries collect only those materials deemed to have “requisite and appropriate quality.”

“Public library staffs necessarily consider content in making collection decisions and enjoy broad discretion in making them.”

“Internet access in public libraries is neither a “traditional” nor a “designated public forum. First, this resource, which did not exists until quite recently – has not “immemorially been held in trust for the use of the public” [so] The doctrines surrounding traditional public forums may not be extended to situations where such history is lacking.” Nor does internet access in a public library satisfy our definition of a designated public forum. To create such a forum, the government must make an affirmative choice to open up its property for use as a public forum.”

“A public library does not acquire Internet terminals in order to create a public forum for Web publishers to express themselves, any more than it collects books in order to provide a public forum for the authors of books to speak. It provides Internet access not to “encourage a diversity of views from private speakers, but for the same reasons it offers other library resources: to facilitate research, learning, and recreational pursuits by furnishing materials of requisite and appropriate quality.”

“as congress recognized “the internet is simply another method for making information available in a school or library. It is no more than a technological extension of the book stack”

“A library’s failure to make quality-based judgments about all the materials it furnishes from the Web does not somehow taint the judgments it does make. A library’s need to exercise judgment in making collection decisions depends on its traditional role in identifying suitable and worthwhile material; it is no less entitled to play that roll when it collects material from the internet than when it collects material from any other source. Most libraries already exclude pornography from their print collections because they deem it inappropriate for inclusion. We do not subject these decisions to heightened scrutiny; it would make little sense to treat libraries’ judgments to block online pornography any differently, when they judgments are made for just the same reason.”

“while a library could limit its Internet collection to just those sites it found worthwhile, it could do so only at the cost of excluding an enormous amount of valuable information that it lacks the capability to review.”

“Congress may certainly insist that these “public funds be spent for the purposes for which they were authorized.” Especially because public libraries have traditionally excluded pornographic material from their other collections, Congress could reasonably impose a parallel limitation on its internet assistance programs.

\”CIPA does not \”penalize libraries that choose not to install such software, or deny them the right to provide their patrons with unfiltered access. Rather, COPA simply reflects Congress\’ decision not to subsidize their doing so. To the extent that libraries wish to offer unfiltered access, they are free to do so with out federal assistance.\”

Kennedy concurring:

“if, on request of an adult users, a librarian will unblock filtered materials or disable the Internet software filter without significant delay, there is little to this case. “

“there are of course, substantial Government interests at stake here. The interest tin protecting young library users from materials inappropriate for minors is legitimate, and even compelling, as all members for the Court appear to agree. Given this interest, and the failure to show that the ability of adult library users to have access to the material is burdened in any significant degree, the stature is not unconstitutional on its face.”

Breyer concurring:

“The act directly restricts the public’s receipt of information.”

“The statutory restriction in question is, in essence, a kind of “selection” restriction (a kind of editing). It affects the kinds and amounts of materials that the library can present to its patrons.”

“the act seeks to restrict access to obscenity, child pornography, and, in respect to access by minors, material that is comparably harmful. These objectives are “legitimate, and indeed often compelling.”

“… no one has presented any clearly superior or better fitting alternatives.”

“Given the comparatively small burden that the Act imposes upon the library patron seeking legitimate Internet materials, I cannot say that nay speech-related harm that the Act may cause is disproportionate when considered in relation to the Act’s legitimate objectives.”

Souter, dissenting:

Souter points out something important everyone else seems to have missed, quoting the District Court:

“unblocking [a site] may take days, and may be unavailable, especially in branch libraries, which are often less well staffed than main libraries.”

“We therefore have to take the statute on the understanding that adults will be denied access to a substantial amount of non-obscene material harmful to children but lawful for adult examination, and a substantial quantity of text and pictures harmful to no one.”

“the statute could, in other words, have protected children without blocking access for adults or subjecting adults to anything more than minimal inconvenience, just the way (the record shows) many librarians had been dealing the obscenity and indecency before imposition of the federal conditions. Instead, the Government’s funding conditions engage in overkill to a degree illustrated by their refusal to trust even a library’s staff with an unblocked terminal, one to which the adult public itself has no access.”

“A library that chose to block an adult’s Internet access to material harmful to children (and whatever else the undiscriminating filter might interrupt) would be imposing content-based restriction on communication of material in the library’s control that an adult could otherwise see. This would simply be censorship.”

“at every significant point, however, the Internet blocking here defies comparison to the process of acquisition. Whereas traditional scarcity of money and space require a library to make choices about whether or not to acquire, and the choice to be made is whether or not to spend the money to acquire something, blocking is the subject of a choice made after the money for Internet access has been spent or committed. “

“Deciding against buying a book means there is no book (unless a loan can be obtained), but blocking the Internet is merely blocking access purchased in its entirety and subject to unblocking if the librarian agrees. The proper analogy therefore is not to passing up a book that might have been bought; it is either buying a book then keeping it from adults lacking an acceptable “purpose”, or to buying an encyclopedia and then cutting out pages with anything thought to be unsuitable for all adults.”

“But, in fact, the plurality’s conceptions of a public library’s mission has been rejected by the libraries themselves. And no library that chose to block adult access in the way mandated by the Act could claim that the historic practice in this country furnished an implicit gloss on First Amendment standards, allowing for blocking out anything unsuitable for adults.”

“..the ALA which had become the nemesis of anything sounding like censorship of library holdings, as shown by the history just sampled. The silence bespeaks an American public library that gives any adult patron any material at hand, and a history without support for the plurality’s reading of the First Amendment as tolerating a public library’s censorship of its collection against adult enquiry.”

“Quite simply one can smell a rat when a library blocks material already in its control, just as we do when a library removes books from its shelves for reasons having nothing to do with wear and tear, obsolescence or lack of demand.”

“there is no good reason, then, to treat blocking of adult enquiry as anything different from the censorship it presumptively is.”

Stevens dissenting:

“Whether it is constitutional for the Congress of the United States to impose that requirement on the other 93% [libraries that do not filter all computers], however, raises a vastly different question. Rather than allowing local decision makers to tailor their responses to local problems, the CIPA operates as a blunt nationwide restraint on adult access to “an enormous amount of valuable information” that individual librarians cannot possibly review. Most of that information is constitutionally protected speech.

“…the statute will provide parents with a false sense of security without really solving the problem that motivated its enactment.”

“The effect of the over blocking is the functional equivalent of a host of individual decisions excluding hundreds of thousands of individually constitutionally protected messages from Internet terminals located in public libraries throughout the nation.”

“It is as though the statute required a significant part of every library’s reading materials to be kept in unmarked, locked rooms or cabinets, which could be opened only in response to specific requests….Inevitably the interest of the authors of those works in reaching the widest possible audience would be abridged.”

“An abridgement of speech by means of a threatened denial of benefits can be just as pernicious as an abridgement by means of a threatened penalty.”

“In short, the message conveyed by the use of filtering software is not that all speech except that which is prohibited by CIPA is supported by the Government, but rather that all speech that gets through the software is supported by the government.”

“The abridgement is equally obnoxious whether a rule like this one is enforced by a threat of penalties, or by a threat to withhold a benefit. “

Important: Don\’t use these quoted without first double checking them! I may have made mistakes, so check my work!!