Memoranda to Freedom to Read Foundation
from Jenner & Block
Below are links to memoranda requested from Jenner & Block.
Minors' Right to Receive Information under the First Amendment
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Internet Filtering in Public Libraries
Open Records Requests Seeking Information (FOIA-related)
Application of Community Standards
The Supreme Court has held that "obscene" speech enjoys no First Amendment protection. Under the Court’s precedents, whether material is deemed obscene depends largely on "contemporary community standards" of prurience and patent offensiveness. Thus, a book may be obscene in Indiana but protected in New York. This principle presents obvious problems for the Internet, a medium that allows speakers to make content available worldwide.
Minors' Right to Receive Information
The Supreme Court long has recognized that minors enjoy some degree of expressive liberty under the First Amendment.
"Federal civil rights laws and many states’ parallel civil rights laws afford employees the "right to work in an environment free from discriminatory intimidation, ridicule and insult." Some individuals have argued that access to materials over the Internet that are offensive due to their sexually explicit nature or messages regarding race, religion or ethnicity may subject a library to liability for a hostile environment under these antidiscrimination laws. Indeed, the Loudoun County, Virgnia Library Board of Trustees, which was sued for installing filtering software on library computers, raised as one justification for installing the software the possibility that Internet use could create a hostile work environment. To date, no published judicial opinion addresses such a hostile environment claim brought by a library employee on this basis. There have, however, been administrative complaints filed in Minnesota and Chicago by librarians alleging a hostile work environment. In both c