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Brief of Amici Curiae Woodhull Freedom Foundation and Electronic Frontier Foundation in Support of Petitioner Free Speech Coalition, Inc., et al.

The Woodhull Freedom Foundation and the Electronic Frontier Foundation submitted our brief to the United States Supreme Court urging the Justices to rule on TX’s unconstitutional age verification law. We filed in support of the constitutional challenge brought by the ACLU, the Free Speech Coalition, and others asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a lower court ruling that, if left standing, would impermissively burden free speech online, involving the unconstitutional age-verification mandate in Texas’s H.B. 1181. Woodhull’s participation in this case was made possible by a generous donation from MojoHost.  As explained in the amicus brief  filed in support of the Petitioners’ request that the Court review the decision from the Fifth Circuit upholding the law, imposing mandatory online age and identity verification to access adult content violates the First Amendment under well-established precedent.

Quote from Ricci Levy, President & CEO of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation: “We rely on the Court to ignore misinformation and, instead, rule based only on the law. The Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized the significant burden and risk created by requiring users to verify their age and identity to access protected content, rendering such requirements unconstitutional where less restrictive alternatives exist. In Ashcroft v. ACLU, the Court reaffirmed that the government cannot impose age verification on adults in the name of protecting children.

If the true goal of these measures is to protect children from material that isn’t age-appropriate, which we fully support, other less intrusive options are already available to accomplish this goal – and must be used in order to protect the rights of adults. But if the real goal is to block adult access and shut down the adult content currently available, and if the Justices allow that to happen, then Democracy as we believe it to be is dead. A big thank you to MojoHost for donating the necessary funds to defray the legal fees and costs of filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court.”

The full brief is available for download on this page, but excerpts are below.

  • “The Fifth Circuit’s erroneous assumption that technological changes have lessened the burden on adults’ rights to access lawful speech online pervades its legal analysis.
  • Requiring adults to verify their ages before accessing protected speech online imposes distinct harms that are not present when requiring in-person age verification.

Texas undoubtedly has an interest in protecting children from harmful materials. However, its effort to accomplish that goal cannot be at the expense of the rights of adults to access constitutionally protected speech.”

Media Contact

Ricci Levy
President & CEO
[email protected]

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