More on Obscenity Conviction:

Eugene has already commented on the recent Fourth Circuit decision in this case (US v Whorley), but I wanted to add a comment, because there's something that really bothers me about this case. The defendant was convicted of "knowingly receiving on a computer 20 obscene Japanese anime cartoons depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, in violation of 18 U.S.C. ยง 1462" -- the Protect Act of 2003. It's an outrageous and appalling precedent -- if, under current Supreme Court precedent, it is not unconstitutional, it damn well should be, and in any event it is shameful for Congress and the President to have enacted it. Why not criminalize obscene thoughts? Why not make it a crime to picture, in one's head, minors engaged in obscene acts? The reason is not that there are profound problems of proof involved in getting inside peoples' heads (though there are), the reason is that the government has no right to control what goes on inside my head. And it is a small step -- an insignificant step, in my view -- from that to the criminalization of a drawn cartoon -- the visible expression of what was going on in some cartoonists' mind. Bad law.