In a beautifully written, powerfully reasoned opinion, the Sixth Circuit today declared 18 U.S.C. § 2257 facially unconstitutional under the First Amendment for overbreadth. The opinion, in Connection Distributing Co. v. Keisler, is here. The statute imposes harsh recordkeeping requirements on all producers and disseminators of sexually explicit content, ostensibly in order to more easily find and prosecute child pornographers. In practice, as discussed in this post from December of 2005, the statute burdens parties who have nothing to do with child pornography — and many, particularly on the Internet, who don’t produce pornography at all.
The Sixth Circuit panel, in patient and careful terms, explained that the government doesn’t get to chill lawful speech in order to make its law-enforcement job easier. Bravo.