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McDonald Discusses Obscenity Law in the LA Times

Barry McDonald

Professor Barry McDonald, an expert on the law governing freedom of expression, wrote about obscenity and the First Amendment in the LA Times this week.

Professor McDonald debated adult entertainment director John Stagliano, who was indicted on nine counts of obscenity by a federal grand jury in April. The question up for debate was whether obscenity laws should continue to exist in modern American society. Stagliano asserted, "We don't need the First Amendment to protect the people who go along with the majority in a community."

Professor McDonald put the question in context, referencing the 1973 case Miller v. California.To the point, he asked, "Is no one truly harmed by obscene materials?"

"Even putting adults aside, surely our society has a strong interest in protecting minors from the potential harm from being exposed to such materials - however that harm may be defined," wrote Professor McDonald. "Finally, even if these concerns did not exist, would our government really have no legitimate interest in preventing the dissemination of obscene materials via public channels of marketing, distribution or exhibition?"

Read the entire LA Times discussion here.