Talk:Stanley v. Georgia
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Merge with Right to pornography
It reads at the start of the entry, "It has been suggested that right to pornography be merged into this article or section". Well, it already is, isn't it? "Right to pornography" redirects to this entry - the warning is no longer needed. It could be substituted by a warning about discussing to split the entry - but as of today, there's no content at all about "Right to pornography" on its own, so no split could be discussed. I recommend to delete the warning, and then this commentary. -Ignacio Agulló —Preceding unsigned comment added by 126.96.36.199 (talk) 13:01, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Expanding the article
Hello everyone. I will expand this article in the next day. I will also add a section on Right to Pornography, especially as it is established in Stanley v. Georgia. There are some articles, such as Adult film industry regulations that redirect to this article with the link "Right to pornography". My sources will include:
- The full text of the Stanley v. Georgia decision. (found here)
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Pornography and Censorship. (found here)
- Al Katz. Privacy and Pornography: Stanley v. Georgia.
Here is a brief summary of the subject matter I will address, and the shape that this article will take:
Prior to Stanley v. Georgia, the most relevant and authoritative ruling on obscenity was Roth v. U.S., where the Court held that a person's Constitutional rights are not violated when they are prevented from advertising and mailing obscene images. However, a necessary part of that case was that the obscenity was sent to the public, and its viewing was not controlled in any way. The Supreme Court was thinking mainly of inadvertent exposure of obscenity to minors when they ruled in Roth.
About a decade later, Stanley's Georgia home was searched under authority of a search warranty and probable cause as determined by a judge. The officers conducting the search were looking for evidence of alleged bookmaking. They instead found pornographic films, which they seized, and arrested Stanley for possession of obscenity, which was illegal under Georgia statute. He unsuccessfully argued that the charge was in violation of his First Amendment rights; Roth apparently excluded obscenity from protection under the Bill of Rights. He was convicted, and appealed the conviction in the Georgia Supreme Court, which upheld the ruling. He appealed again, and the US Supreme Court decided to hear the case.
The Supreme Court unanimously found that the conviction was in violation of his rights. Roth was only meant to make illegal obscenity in public areas. What a person does in the privacy of their own home, without affecting any other person, is no business of the government. The Court rejected some of the other arguments of the prosecutors, such as that it would be too difficult to separate treatment of distribution and possession of pornography, and so the lower courts' decision was overturned.
Justice Stewart agreed with the majority opinion, but wrote his own concurrence to bring attention to another fact of the case. Stanley's constitutional rights were also violated when the police seized the film reels. They were there on authority of a search warrant, which clearly enumerates the things that can be found and seized by the police. At the time the warrant was created, there was no probable cause for obscenity, and so the police had no right to take the reels from his home. When he a motion to deem the evidence inadmissible in court, his motion was denied. For this reason alone, the case ruling needs to be reversed.
Stanley v. Georgia establishes a Constitutional right to pornography. In the majority opinion, there is emphasis placed on the liberal ideal of free and unimpeded acquisition of facts and knowledge, regardless of their apparent social value. Mentally healthy and sane adults should not be kept from indulging in their tastes, even if others may find them distasteful. Unless the pornography is created or presented in a way that can cause harm to others, the government has no right to control the consumption of the obscene material. The Stanley decision coincided with the sexual revolution, and led to a more accepting, liberal view of pornography, and a thriving, legitimate commercial market for obscenity.
Subsequent cases include U.S. v. Thirty-seven Photographs (1971), which banned the importation of pornography, and Osborne v. Ohio (1990), which outlawed the mere possession of child pornography.
The expanded article looks great! It's thorough and clear in the analysis of the case. I went through and made a few minor edits for clarity, but it's very well-written overall.
I have a few suggestions for improving the readability and structure of the article. First, it might be helpful to divide "Prior History" into separate "History" and "Facts" sections. "Prior history" is a bit redundant, but more importantly, the first segment of the section is solely about relevant precedents/etc. from before the case, and the second segment is an introduction to the facts of the case, so it would make sense to divide them.
Also, the section titled "The case" could benefit from some streamlining/summarization. Currently it's a bit hard to follow the progression of the case because there are so many precedent cases and standards at play. It would be helpful to add a summary paragraph at the beginning of the section including the overall issue of the case, the standard applied, and the outcome, so that it's easier to follow along as the events unfold.
Other than that, the article looks good. It's interesting to think of how the "right to privacy" and "right to pornography" might have evolved, and this case is an important one because it's at the basis of both. VM 03:32, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
- Thank you for the suggestions and edits! I will separate History and Facts into two sections. I will leave "The case" as is, because the summary you are looking for is already present at the top of the page. "The case" is somewhat monolithic, however, and will have to be split up if the section gets any larger. Drozycki16 (talk) 04:18, 18 December 2011 (UTC)