The justices said they would review, at the request of the federal government, an appeals court decision that said Congress's broad attempt to discourage animal cruelty by outlawing its depiction violates the First Amendment.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia voted 10 to 3 last summer to find unconstitutional the rarely used law passed by Congress in 1999. The appeals court said the goal of protecting against animal cruelty was a worthy one, but one already accomplished by laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia outlawing the practice.
The appeals court noted that the Supreme Court is resistant to removing First Amendment protections of depictions even of illegal actions. The last time the court did so was over child pornography.
"Preventing cruelty to animals, although an exceedingly worthy goal, simply does not implicate interests of the same magnitude as protecting children from physical and psychological harm," the appeals court said.
I am incredibly angry at the last statement. That's just BS.
Thanks to Animal Law Online for the catch.