Federal Court Strikes Down Social Media Age-Verification Law on First Amendment Grounds

We recently discussed a federal court ruling that the Texas law requiring age verification and warning for porn sites was unconstitutional. Now, Judge Timothy Brooks in Arkansas has found that another state law imposing age verification requirements for social media violates the First Amendment. In Netchoice, LLC v. Griffin, Judge Brooks found that the law “will unnecessarily burden minors’ access to constitutionally protected speech.”At issue in the case was  the “Social Media Safety Act” that sought to protect minors from harms associated with the use of social media platforms. To achieve that end, it required social media companies to verify the age of all account holders in the state through the submission of  age-verifying documentation before accessing a social media platform.

Judge Brooks acknowledges that the law “clearly serves an important governmental interest.” However, he found the law vague and lacking the narrow tailoring needed to pass constitutional muster. Notably, the state pushed for “intermediate scrutiny” rather than strict scrutiny in the review. While the Court believed that the higher burden was warranted, it decided to apply the lower standard. Yet, it still found the law violated the Constitution. Under intermediate scrutiny, a law must be “narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest.”

He found that requiring adult and non-adult users to produce state-approved documentation to prove their age and/or submit to biometric age-verification testing imposes significant burdens to constitutionally protected speech and “discourage[s] users from accessing [the regulated] sites.” While acknowledging the “admirable” intentions of the legislature, the court held that “the governmental interest in protecting children does not justify an unnecessarily broad suppression of speech addressed to adults.”

It further found that the law was not narrowly tailored or supported by the cited data. Notably, as in the PornHub case previously discussed, the court cites the ability to control access at the device rather than globally requiring everyone to submit proof of their age:

Age-verification requirements are more restrictive than policies enabling or encouraging users (or their parents) to control their own access to information, whether through user-installed devices and filters or affirmative requests to third-party companies. “Filters impose selective restrictions on speech at the receiving end, not universal restrictions at the source.” Ashcroft v. ACLU (II) (2004). And “[u]nder a filtering regime, adults … may gain access to speech they have a right to see without having to identify themselves[.]”Similarly, the State could always “act to encourage the use of filters … by parents” to protect minors.

In sum, NetChoice is likely to succeed on the merits of the First Amendment claim it raises on behalf of Arkansas users of member platforms. The State’s solution to the very real problems associated with minors’ time spent online and access to harmful content on social media is not narrowly tailored. Act 689 is likely to unduly burden adult and minor access to constitutionally protected speech. If the legislature’s goal in passing Act 689 was to protect minors from materials or interactions that could harm them online, there is no compelling evidence that the Act will be effective in achieving those goals.

Beyond that holding, the court also finds that the law is unconstitutionally vague and noted that the state’s own witness undermined its case:

A “social media company” is defined as “an online forum that a company makes available for an account holder” to “[c]reate a public profile, establish an account, or register as a user for the primary purpose of interacting socially with other profiles and accounts,” “[u]pload or create posts or content,” “[v]iew posts or content of other account holders,” and “[i]nteract with other account holders or users, including without limitation establishing mutual connections through request and acceptance.” But the statute neither defines “primary purpose”—a term critical to determining which entities fall within Act 689’s scope—nor provides any guidelines about how to determine a forum’s “primary purpose,” leaving companies to choose between risking unpredictable and arbitrary enforcement (backed by civil penalties, attorneys’ fees, and potential criminal sanctions) and trying to implement the Act’s costly age-verification requirements. Such ambiguity renders a law unconstitutional….

During the evidentiary hearing, the Court asked the State’s expert, Mr. Allen, whether he believed Snapchat met Act 689’s definition of a regulated “social media company.” He responded in the affirmative, explaining that Snapchat’s “primary purpose” matched Act 689’s definition of a “social media company” (provided it was true that Snapchat also met the Act’s profitability requirements). When the Court asked the same question to the State’s attorney later on in the hearing, he gave a contrary answer—which illustrates the ambiguous nature of key terms in Act 689. The State’s attorney disagreed with Mr. Allen—his own witness—and said the State’s official position was that Snapchat was not subject to regulation because of its “primary purpose.”

Other provisions of Act 689 are similarly vague. The Act defines the phrase “social media platform” as an “internet-based service or application … [o]n which a substantial function of the service or application is to connect users in order to allow users to interact socially with each other within the service or application”; but the Act excludes services in which “the predominant or exclusive function is” “[d]irect messaging consisting of messages, photos, or videos” that are “[o]nly visible to the sender and the recipient or recipients” and “[a]re not posted publicly.” Again, the statute does not define “substantial function” or “predominant … function,” leaving companies to guess whether their online services are covered. Many services allow users to send direct, private messages consisting of texts, photos, or videos, but also offer other features that allow users to create content that anyone can view. Act 689 does not explain how platforms are to determine which function is “predominant,” leaving those services to guess whether they are regulated.

Act 689 also fails to define what type of proof will be sufficient to demonstrate that a platform has obtained the “express consent of a parent or legal guardian.” If a parent wants to give her child permission to create an account, but the parent and the child have different last names, it is not clear what, if anything, the social media company or third-party servicer must do to prove a parental relationship exists. And if a child is the product of divorced parents who disagree about parental permission, proof of express consent will be that much trickier to establish—especially without guidance from the State.

These ambiguities were highlighted by the State’s own expert, who testified that “the biggest challenge … with parental consent is actually establishing the relationship, the parental relationship.” Since the State offers no guidance about the sort of proof that will be required to show parental consent, it is likely that once Act 689 goes into effect, the companies will err on the side of caution and require detailed proof of the parental relationship. As a result, parents and guardians who otherwise would have freely given consent to open an account will be dissuaded by the red tape and refuse consent—which will unnecessarily burden minors’ access to constitutionally protected speech.

As will likely come as little surprise to most on this blog, I agree with the decision and the need to protect these First Amendment rights.

Here is the opinion: Netchoice, LLC v. Griffin

83 thoughts on “Federal Court Strikes Down Social Media Age-Verification Law on First Amendment Grounds”

  1. Jonathan: Some on this blog think Obama appointed judges are out to get DJT. Anonymous (the lesser) says: “Judges are supposed to recognize the Rule of Law, but when a despot like Obama comes to power, one has to look at the judges he appoints. Many come from from the same cloth and have relationships to revolutionaries” (9/3/23 @9:33 am). A reference to Judge Chutkan who presides the Jan. 6 case against DJT. Others have expressed the same view–see edwardmahl’s comment (9/2/23 @4:36 pm).

    Anonymous has a skewed definition of the “Rule of Law”. He apparently thinks no Obama appointee should preside over any of the DJT cases–because they are all “revolutionaries”. As you know there are not separate “Rules of Law”. One for everybody else and a separate “Rule of Law” for DJT. Some, like Anonymous, think DJT should be treated differently because the 2020 election was stolen from him by “massive election fraud”. They think he is the rightful “President”. FACT CHECK: DJT lost the election and is now a private citizen with all the rights afforded to any other criminal defendant. No less and no more.

    Anonymous also says he believes in a “Constitutional Republic”. Under our Constitution the President gets to choose his appointees to the federal bench. Obama made his pics as did Trump and now Biden. Trump appointed hundreds of conservatives to the federal bench and 3 conservative appointees to the Supreme Court. Did Anonymous complain then? Nope. Judge Cannon, a Trump appointee and supporter, presides over the Mar-a-Lago case. Did Anon complain about that random selection? Nope. Anon can hardly complain how judges are selected under our “Constitutional Republic”.

    But all of a sudden Anon is up in arms over the selection of Judge Chutkan to preside over the Jan. 6 case.in DC. falsely claiming she has “relationships with revolutionaries”. What “relationships”? Anon doesn’t say. Nevermind that judges are randomly selected. In the case in Florida Trump rolled the dice and hit the jackpot in Judge Cannon. In DC Trump rolled the dice and got Chutkan. That’s how the “Rule of Law” actually operates..

    And Anon forgets that Judge Chutkan will not decide DJT’s guilt or innocence. That will be up to a jury of DJT’s peers. Now I’m sure Anon will complain that DJT can’t get a “fair trial” in DC because it is a Dem stronghold with a lot of “revolutionaries”. No doubt DJT’s lawyers will make the same argument in asking for a change of venue. That will fail because the alleged crimes all occurred in DC. That is the proper venue.

    No matter how DJT and Anon rant and rave about Judge Chutkan, she will conduct a fair and impartial trial as she has done in all her other criminal trials. Funny, but we have heard not a word from you complaining about Judge Chutkan. Seems you agree with me. I rest my case.


      “It’s the [Obama], stupid!”

      – James Carville

      What American ever wanted the United States of America “fundamentally transformed” into a banana republic which requires the destruction of the American thesis of freedom and self-reliance, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, actual Americans and America itself?

      “If Comey had indicted Hillary, Comey would have convicted Obama.”

      “Comey Confirms: In Clinton Emails Caper, the Fix Was In”

      – Andrew C. McCarthy


      “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

      – Barack Obama

      “We will stop him.”

      – Peter Strzok to FBI paramour Lisa Page

      “[Obama] wants to know everything we’re doing.”

      – Lisa Page to FBI paramour Peter Strzok

      “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before 40.”

      – Peter Strzok to FBI parmour Lisa Page

      “People on the 7th floor to include Director are fired up about this [Trump] server.”

      – Bill Priestap

      The continuing Obama Coup D’etat in America is the most egregious abuse of power and the most prodigious crime in American political history. The co-conspirators are:

      Kevin Clinesmith, Bill Taylor, Eric Ciaramella, Rosenstein, Mueller/Team, Andrew Weissmann,

      James Comey, Christopher Wray, McCabe, Strozk, Page, Laycock, Kadzic, Sally Yates,

      James Baker, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Priestap, Kortan, Campbell, Sir Richard Dearlove,

      Christopher Steele, Simpson, Joseph Mifsud, Alexander Downer, Stefan “The Walrus” Halper,

      Azra Turk, Kerry, Hillary, Huma, Mills, Brennan, Gina Haspel, Clapper, Lerner, Farkas, Power,

      Lynch, Rice, Jarrett, Holder, Brazile, Sessions (patsy), Nadler, Schiff, Pelosi, Obama,

      Joe Biden, James E. Boasberg, Emmet Sullivan, Gen. Milley, George Soros, John McCain,

      Marc Elias, Igor Danchenko, Fiona Hill, Charles H. Dolan, Jake Sullivan, Strobe Talbot,

      Cody Shear, Victoria Nuland, Ray “Red Hat” Epps, Don Berlin, Kathy Ruemmler, Rodney Joffe,

      Paul Vixie, L. Jean Camp, Andrew Whitney, Lisa O. Monaco et al.

    2. “As you know there are not separate “Rules of Law”. One for everybody else and a separate “Rule of Law” for DJT.”

      But we see that. Trump is being tried in multiple courts because he is DJT. That is how leftists think. Dennis thinks the treatment is equal, but then he thinks Joe Biden is a Saint and all the evidence to the contrary and his lies about the evidence don’t count. To Dennis, the evidence doesn’t count when Joe Biden is involved, but when DJT is involved, Dennis thinks it is OK to make up evidence and lie.

      Dennis is either Stupid or Stupid. I can’t figure out which.

      ” crimes all occurred in DC. That is the proper venue.”

      No, it isn’t. It isn’t a jury of his peers. It is a jury that hates him. In the jury selection process, the hate is so against Trump that his lawyer will run out of his ability to discard a juror, and the prosecutor will be able to discard anyone favorable to Trump. The numbers are so bad the case should be moved elsewhere.

      “I rest my case.”

      Dennis, aren’t you the person talked about below?
      Dennis, you thought everyone had to plead guilty before getting a Presidential pardon. I keep looking in the Constitution to see where it says that, but I can’t find it. You say you are a lawyer, so maybe you can find it. If not, how can anyone ever trust anything you say?


      I got it Dennis, you are a comedian pretending to be a dumb lawyer.

      1. S. Meyer: I am constantly amazed that non-lawyers seem to think they know more about criminal law than those who practice it every day. For example, you claim “Trump is being tried in multiple courts because because he is DJT”. First, DJT is not “being tried”. While trial dates have been set in some of the criminal cases those actual trials are months away. Second, DJT is not being charged “because he is DJT”. He is being charged because it is alleged he engaged in criminal conduct. Under our criminal justice system NO ONE is above the law–not even a former president. I know that is a concept you find hard for your tiny non-lawyer brain to comprehend but that’s the law. So I have a suggestion. There are many online criminal law courses–even for non-lawyers. Take one before you opine on subjects you know nothing about!

        1. “First, DJT is not “being tried…”

          Dennis, he is, as you say, “being tried” in many ways, such as the court of public opinion, along with the indictments and future trials. At best, we see election abuse and fraud at worst, while the left deceitfully attempts to stop a legitimate candidate from running for the Presidency. The claims are spurious and leveled against a presumed opponent, which would lead his opponent to jail and ignominy.

          “because it is alleged he engaged in criminal conduct. Under our criminal justice system NO ONE is above the law…”

          We can call the prosecutions above the law as the prosecutors indicting Trump to benefit themselves and their political careers. We see a false pursuit of justice as one myth piled on top of another while they shield their eyes from the abdominal criminal behavior they and members of their part are perpetrating. The past provided many examples, so there is little need to correct and dispense with your ignorant utterances that litter the blog.

          “There are many online criminal law courses–even for non-lawyers. Take one before you opine on subjects you know nothing about!”

          My knowledge is far greater than yours, which is no feat. You even lack understanding of the Constitution despite whatever training you had. That shows strongly in your interpretation of the requirements for a Presidential Pardon. With knowledge like yours and a license to practice law, you are a danger to society.

  2. Professor Turley should write a piece on constitutional rights of “others” related to or married to government employees who’s privacy rights are violated just by proximity to the government employee.

    What rights do these “others” (non-government) relatives and spouses have? These Americans never waived any of their constitutional rights.

    For example: a federal security agency – in the name of security – requires the family member or spouse’s privacy to be violated and stored in a government database. Then the government database gets hacked and the non-government person then needs lifetime credit monitoring controlled by the agency they never joined.

    If a government agency is going to intrude and collect all of that information, doesn’t the agency also have a responsibility to keep it secure from hacking or sharing? Since these Americans had no choice over their personal privacy. Do government employees themselves lose all rights when they take a government job?

  3. When Facebook first came on the scene it was for adults 18 and over. Then they lowered the age to join in to 13 because there was a “demand”. Now I’m not naive enough to think that 13 yr olds, & some even younger, haven’t seen any porn.They usually find some hidden in their own homes. But a few magazines vs. the whole internet is another thing. Unless the magazines/books come from an adult bookstore, it’s rarely the hardcore readily avaialable on the internet. Curiosity won’t kill the cat, but let’s allow the children age into adulthood first. That’s why we should draw a line in the sand.

    1. A 13 yr old probably wrote FB code.

      Good luck keeping 13yr olds off the internet. Any internet. Some of these cyber diaper dandies go on to be CIA/NSA system engineers.

      “He found that requiring adult and non-adult users to produce state-approved documentation to prove their age and/or submit to biometric age-verification testing imposes significant burdens to constitutionally protected speech and “discourage[s] users from accessing [the regulated] sites.””

      See also ‘snowballs chance in hell’.

      *In any case, I’m much more concerned impressionable minds, young and old alike, may read Philip Bump @ WaPo and confuse Joe Biden’s war-mongering psychopaths syndicate with real human beings.

    2. I never reached for porn when I was a teenager nor young adult. I thought of it as fake and unserious. I never had a Facebook account or any other social media account for the same reasons. Then again I rejected television series in the 1980s when I finished college, and never understood why Americans religiously watched the shows, Friends, Cheers, Saturday Night Live, Seinfeld, …. and the sordid lot that followed. Today I observe students at the undergraduate and graduate levels, professional programs and STEM, glued to smart phones, lacking interpersonal skills to talk to students, professors and university staff. In medicine, few medical students have the emotional maturity to interact with patients. It is all so unserious. We are an unserious culture. Presciently, Neil Postman wrote about this phenomenon in 1985, in his book, In Amusing Ourselves to Death

      What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us ofinformation. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned ina sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.

      As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to takeinto account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

      From the Foreword


      1. I think you left out an important part. As I recall, after listening all of the above, Postman concluded that Huxley was right. To a large extent that’s true, but what Postman didn’t know was that there would eventually be an Orwellian “Joe Biden” administration that would vindicate Orwell’s fears.

      2. At 9:00pm eastern time, I ATTEMPTED to post a comment at this website, pertinently augmenting this article by citing another court ruling — this time by the 5th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals — reinstating a lawsuit related to the FDA having erroneously dissuaded physicians from prescribing Ivermectin for treatment and/or PREVENTION of COVID, because such dissuasion was BEYOND the purview of the FDA’s authority.

        While THIS Turleyville article is about the limitation of government action regarding censorship of or access to pornography, the court ruling that I cited in my yet-to-show-up post is about the limitation of government action regarding censorship of or access to qualified medical advice. Since the two subjects are clearly related regarding government overreach, and BOTH government actions have been struck down, the information I ATTEMPTED to post seems to me to be directly relevant to the subject matter of this article. Yet for some unidentified reason my comment has not shown up — now one HOUR after I attempted to post it.

        Under these circumstances, I’d say that Turleyille follows the Orwellian process, not Huxley’s process. OR there’s a third alternative of simple INCOMPETENCE by this website.

        1. “Under these circumstances, I’d say that Turleyille follows the Orwellian process, not Huxley’s process. OR there’s a third alternative of simple INCOMPETENCE by this website.”
          Ralph de Minimus,

          The comment that you referred to was for unknown reasons picked up by the automatic Spam Filter, which happens on occasion to legitimate posts, and thus are manually restored later. The misclassification as Spam was done by the wordpress server not by any Orwellian process. I could retrieve it but given your rudeness, I choose not to do so.

          1. LOL — So now there’s a “rudeness” test? LOL LOL LOL — You might wanna institute that test with some of the other CLOWNS posting comments hear. Meanwhile, your subjective accusation of “rudeness” doesn’t pass the smell test, gatekeeper.

              1. Mr. Smith, given the inflammatory, idiotic, factually inaccurate, and VERY rude comments which pass through your filters to appear, I would suggest singling out Mr. de Minimus for censure is not a good look for Res Ispa Loquitur.

                1. It’s a garbage website with unequally-applied rules. Better no rules than unequally-applied rules. But Turley is a democrat voter, so it’s not surprising — nor is the petty — and I mean PETTY — reply by Turley’s webmaster.

                2. Ellen Evans,

                  I do not help those who are rude to me. What you make of that is of course your own affair.

                3. Ellen, the Leftist trolls habitually refer to the “look” or “reputation” of Res Ipsa. And yet the number of subscribers and increase in web traffic continue to grow. Perhaps using logic, rational discourse and objective metrics are variables you should consider when it comes to making recommendations

                  Im generally not in favor of torture but given the arrogance, stupidity and condescension by Minimalist, perhaps the Chinese water torture would be an option

            1. “So now there’s a “rudeness” test?”

              There always has been — for civilized people. It’s called “good manners,” especially towards one’s hosts.

      3. There’s a reason the fall of man in Genesis was occasioned by the Tree of Knowledge and not the shrubs of greed, folly or violence.

  4. Jonathan: When you say we live in an “age of rage” I would like to offer more evidence to prove your claim. It’s coming out of the mouth of, you guessed it, DJT. For months he has made personal attacks on all the judges and prosecutors in the four criminal cases against him. In the NY indictment by AG Letitia James over his business records fraud, DJT just posted this attack on James and Judge Engoron (all in caps):

    “In the NYS AG Letitia James case, I was targeted, given no jury, no extensions, no commercial division [?], no
    constitutional rights, no anything! The Democratic judge hates Trump [he often uses the third person] with a passion…
    I was defamed by NYS–election interference!”

    Then in the indictment in the Jan. 6 case in DC, overwhich Judge Tanya Chutkan is presiding, DJT reposted a post by Mark Levin, the conspiracy theory purist, that went like this: “Another judge from a Marxist family. Judge in Jan. 6 case is a scion of Marxist revolutionaries”.

    So there you have it. Need any further evidence that DJT is not only full of himself and deranged–but full of “rage”? As his trial dates come closer you will see more of this “rage”. How long do you think it will be before Judge Chutkan revokes DJT’s terms of release and puts him in jail to await his trial in DC? Unfortunately, she will give DJT a lot more rope before she does that.

    1. Dennis: The New York Post writes:
      “Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, an Obama appointee, is the granddaughter of Frank Hill, a Jamaican communist revolutionary, who along with his brother Ken were briefly jailed by the island’s British governor during World War II over suspicions of “subversive activities.”
      Hill is the father of Noelle Hill, Judge Chutkan’s mother, public records show.
      Frank, along with his brother Ken Hill, and fellow comrades Richard Hart and Arthur Henry, were expelled from the People’s National Party of Jamaica for espousing communist views, according to local Jamaican media.”
      Why is the revolutinary Communist background of this family irrlevant? The last thing Communists believe is “rule of law” or even basic honesty and fairness.
      Of course, you can say that she has rejected the views of her parents and grandparenty, but is there any evidence that she has? But acorns do not fall far from trees. All of us, even leftists, should be “enraged” that someone of this character was put in place of judging a Republican politician of Trump’s importance. But it seems tht this is exactly the kind of “judge” that you like.

      1. edwardmahl: Now I thought “red-baiting” went out in the 1960s. Now it appears you have resurrected it–along with DJT, the NYPost, Mark Levin and all his “comrades” on the right-wing media. Edward, you are keepin’ bad company these days.That said let’s see if we can makes sense out of you claims.

        First, as a matter of history, the People’s National Party was founded in 1929 in Jamaica by Norman Manley. In 1954 the PNP expelled Richard Hart, Ken Hill, Frank Hill (Chutkan’s grandfather) and Arthur Henry–all accused of having “communist views”. From that time until this day the PNT has remained a “center-left” party and has won most of the elections since then. That’s because Jamaican voters support the PNT’s social justice programs.

        Second, tainting Judge Chutkan with having “Communist” sympathies because of her grandfather’s allegiances just won’t cut it. In 2014 Judge Chutkan was confirmed by the Senate in a 95-0 vote. If there was anything in Chutkan’s past that might raise Qs about her allegiance to US democratic values don’t you think the Senate Republicans would have raised it? Besides, the political allegiances of a grandfather don’s automatically rub off on the granddaughter. Unless, you actually believe Judge Chutkan carries in her DNA what she inherited from her grandfather.

        Third, you ask the Q “Why is the revolutionary Communist background of this family irrlevant (sic–I think you meant to say “relevant”)?” Of course your statement assumes facts not in evidence. What evidence do you have that Chutkan’s grandfather’s political views affects how she rules in any case? You won’t find any. But you say “someone of this character [Chutkan] was put in place of judging a Republican politician of Trump’s importance”. What “importance”? Trump is now a private citizen with no more “importance” than any other criminal defendant. Everyone before Chutkan is treated the same. She made that clear in her pre-trial orders. DJT doesn’t like being treated like any than other criminal defendant. He wants special treatment but that’s not how the criminal justice system works in this country. Judge Chutkan’s only allegiance is to the US Constitution and “due process”–not to the views of a dead ancestor.

        Finally, DJT’s attacks on judges and prosecutors as being “Marxists” and “Communists” shows he is one desperate dude. He has nothing else to defend himself with so he attacks the judges and prosecutors–just like any other mob boss. And guess what? It doesn’t matter what Chutkan’s political views are. If DJT is convicted it won’t be because Judge Chutkan “railroaded” him into prison. It will be because 12 jurors, ordinary American men and women, find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But go ahead–drink all the spiked DJT cool-aid. But if you wake up one day and want go off it–you will need a lengthy rehab detox program–because DJT’s toxic poison is hard to get out of your system!

    2. Unprecedented.

      Never before in history.

      The only potential precedent is Mike Nifong’s egregious prosecutorial misconduct and legal aberration.

      Rage, you say?

      Alternatively, one might frame it as Obama’s corruption and ongoing Coup D’etat in America, which is fundamentally transforming the United States into a third world banana republic.

    3. ” For months he has made personal attacks on all the judges and prosecutors in the four criminal cases against him.”

      You leftist provocateurs tried to kill our Supreme Court Justices and the DOJ did precious little. Below you talk about “red-baiting”. Whether you are red or not, you support violence and fight for the destruction of this Constitutional Republic.

      Trump has said that the Rule of Law is not being upheld by some of these judges and he is right. Judges are supposed to recognize the Rule of Law, but when a despot like Obama comes to power, one has to look at the judges he appoints. Many come from the same cloth and have relationships to revolutionaries.

  5. Why are so many people making the transparently stupid argument that any law designed to keep minors from seeing hard-core porn constitutes censorship or is anti-free speech? The problem with this law was not that, but its unconstitutional vagueness. Nobody yet has explained how a more carefully crafted statute along these same lines would be any different than a convenience store clerk requiring age verification to buy a physical Hustler or Penthouse magazine.

    1. “. . . law designed to keep minors from seeing hard-core porn . . .”

      Such a law already exists, as it should: Section 1470 of Title 18, United States Code.

      The con game here is that religious conservatives are using the “protection of children” as a rationalization to impose prohibition on *adults*. Those vague and overly-broad state laws are not an accident.

  6. Jonathan: I agree that Judge Brooks was correct in finding Arkansas’s age verification requirements for porn sites is a violation of 1sr Amendment rights. But, as Anonymous (the sane one) pointed out in his comment, this law was promulgated, not by a Democratic legislature, but by a REPUBLICAN dominated legislature. For some time you have falsely claimed it is the “liberal” Democrats who are trying to curtail “free speech”. The fact is, it is Republicans in Arkansas, Florida and in other states who are actually trying to suppress 1st Amendment rights. Apparently, you didn’t see the dripping irony in your column.

    1. “For some time you have falsely claimed it is the “liberal” Democrats who are trying to curtail “free speech”.”

      The mark of a mind that is crippled intellectually by partisan bias. This being true doesnt make that false. Except for the small mind that cant see past the D or the R.

      For instance, just because u didnt plagiarize the thoughts you expressed here, doesnt mean you havent been doing it regularly for months.

    2. Of course, grooming minors is important to demoncrats. Cutting off their sexual organs is too.
      Safe and effective is never censored. (that’s dripping with sarcasm hit the mirror bucko)

      1. Levine’s Dreams of Mengele.

        In ancient Greece, they indulged trans/homosexualism and sodomy of boys and girls to force them to take a knee to/for social progress a la VP Kamala. In our liberal society, in schools, scouts, churches, etc.

        It’s all very trans/social and politically congruent (“=”)… Oh, civil unions for all consenting adults. Stop the bigotry, lower the rainbow flag celebrating the pride of albinophobia under Diversity Inequity Exclusion (DIE).

    1. Parents need to pick up and accept the responsibility of ensuring their children are not accessing anything that the family values does not approve of. That is not the purview of the government.

  7. Once it is admitted that the state’s interest is significant, the different levels of scrutiny seem the same to me. I’ve never understood the difference between requiring the legislation to employ the “least restrictive means” of accomplishing its goal (strict scrutiny), and requiring reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on speech to be “restricted to the evil with which it is said to deal” (intermediate scrutiny). Butler v. Michigan (1957). In other words, the regulation at issue must suppress no more speech than necessary to accomplish its objective, but again, how is that different than least restrictive means or even narrow tailoring? It seems to me these are just buzz words the court likes to throw around to make it seem clever or erudite.

  8. This is sloppy work by the Arkansas legislature – to omit definitions of key terms. But legislators win brownie points by passing the legislation and then they can blame the courts for knocking it out. This technique is as old as the hills, and re-election is the name of the game.

    1. It exposes their true intent, to be bigots.

      What?? Trying to keep kids from seeing hard-core porn is bing a bigot? What in the world are you smoking?

      As for their true intent – like I said before, it’s to get re-elected. That is the goal of virtually every elected legislator.

  9. Anon – what the Arkansas legislature did here was an attempt, albeit perhaps sloppy, to enact the equivalent of a convenience store requiring age verification to buy a physical Hustler or Penthouse magazine. The Democrats, on the other hand, aggressively censor political speech they disagree with, and have the speaker de-platformed and otherwise canceled from society. To equate the two is patently ridiculous. I suspect you know that, but get your jollies out of making silly assertions like the ones you made here.

    1. Anon – I didn’t express any opinion about the wisdom or desirability of this law. You noticeably didn’t refute my point – which was that it’s ridiculous to grouse about Republicans supposedly being “staunch opponents of free speech” based on a statute like this one, when everyone knows it’s the Democrats who have set up a government-censorship complex to suppress political speech as revealed in the Twitter Files, the Facebook Files, the labeling of the Hunter laptop story as Russian disinformation, and the “Joe Biden” administration’s attempts to set up an Orwellian ministry of truth. Whoever posted the comment I responded to was either purposely trolling or projecting.

  10. More censorship:

    Ariz. Gov. Hobbs’ request for Twitter to censor her critics sparks legislative investigation
    Emails show that in November of 2020, Hobbs reportedly abused her official secretary of state email by asking Twitter to take action against her “alt-right” critics. Critics have uncovered more emails and now state House Republicans want answers. Hobbs calls it a “sideshow.” This scenario is ongoing nationally.

    1. “She didn’t request twitter to censor anything.”

      Bug, Anonymous, ATS, etc. cannot be trusted. They twist fact into a pretzel with lies and deceit. The real story involves election interference by Hobbs.

      Let us see what Katie Hobbs did. She was SOS and running for governor. She used her office and committed election interference.

      “then-Secretary Katie Hobbs and her government office engaged in an extensive campaign to censor her critics before and during her campaign for governor.”

      The facts are available at:

      This includes emails and Nazi Tweets by Hobbs.

      “Hobbs and her taxpayer-funded staff spent an inordinate amount of time attempting to censor obscure, low-traffic Internet posts, and they did not appreciate when social media companies denied their takedown requests.”

      Faebook denied Hobb’s requests.

      1. Bug, you are gone from the blog, but your stupidity remains behind in quotes. What also remains is data that proves you are ignorant. It is fitting that when the clean-up crew is gone, so are you, but answers to your stupidity remain with the blog forever..

  11. If we allow poorly worded vague statutes to limit constitutionally protected free speech, there will be no end to this. And if it is left to Democrat controlled state legislatures, they will call everything they disagree with as “misinformation” and, of course, justification for more censorship. Thank you, Jonathan, for an excellent article.

  12. Well, this should increase the possibility of a company putting out an app, with frequent updates, that will block pornography sites. You already see that in free Wi-Fi zones, where Best Buy and Barnes and Noble take opposite points of view. You can see one will block any firearms and other similar sites, like Bearing Arms, and the other won’t. If the stores are side by side you can see the difference in what they allow whenever you log on. I’m sure there will be apps eventually. You could get the same for your iPhone or iPad, or MacBook. I’m sure there might be an app for that other operating system but that would likely be so small a market that no one would bother.sic.

    1. @GEB

      that is sound logic and yet another example of how far backward we have been dragged. There used to be an ‘app’ of that nature that I’m sure most recall: AOL. It was a walled garden that made people think they were accessing the full web when they were doing anything but. Back then this eventual realization pushed people to broader freedom of movement outside of AOL’s shackles and the company tanked. Today we have a contraction in the form of social media that is precisely the opposite, and this time, the government has their grubby hands all over it (last time they didn’t understand the technology sufficiently to really interfere).

      Generationally, we are recreating the Dark Ages in real time. Pray that the government does not attempt to mandate their own system (of which Obamacare portals could serve as a preview. Tie ‘benefits’ to the tools). It’s pure conjecture, of course, but if Web 2.0 taught is anything, it is how trivially easy it can be to corrupt entire systems, and how connectivity paired with tracking technology and access points that everyone carries around willingly can make something virtually global so fast very few notice it even happened until much later when the consequences are undeniable.

  13. The real issue comes down to the fact that this is logistically difficult to regulate and enforce, not that giving little kids access to harmful content is a good idea.

    With regard to Porn Hub, of course they want young customers addicted to porn, the younger the better in their view. They could care less that little kids, teenagers and adults of all ages develop a warped view of women and a diminished concept of healthy and appropriate sexuality. No more lurking down a dark alleyway, just flip a switch. It is pervasive and damaging. Who cares that women are diminished, exploited and looked down on? They.care about money. Lots and lots of money.,

    Nothing can replace good parenting, but it has become increasingly difficult job in the past decade. It is a dangerous world out in the Wild Wild West of the internet. Caveat Emptor.

    1. E.M.
      Well said.
      Been watching the Hollywood writers strike? The bit about AI use to create? Some yahoos use AI software to create AI “influencers.” In most of them you cannot tell the difference if they are computer AI generated or the real thing.
      Give it a few years and kids will be generating their own porn.
      Did you see the Barbinhemier short? Two guys, AI and 4 days.
      Was it as good as the full length, live action films?
      But it is insight to where the movie industry could be going.

      1. @UpState

        A trained eye can tell, and I do not doubt that, as with photo manipulation, we will have tools to detect other forms of manipulation (it nearly always leaves ‘fingerprints’), but it’s a great point: the fact of the matter is that those raised in what amounts to an alternate reality are perfectly content with approximations, and you’d better believe that will *never* translate to real life, and that is *going* to be a problem.

        Blindly trusting the editorialization of experts is bad enough; blindly trusting what amounts to regurgitation facilitated by technology (algorithms can only extrapolate from pre-existing data, even if the data pool is vast enough to appear otherwise) is concerning, indeed.

        1. James,
          I was president of the photography club in jr. high and high school.
          That was back in the day when we had a dark room, film, negatives etc.
          Yes, a trained eye can see the difference. But I watched one of the AI generated videos of a influencer walking on a beach and let me tell you it was dang good. What really amazed me was the foot prints “she” left in the sand. That is how good it was.
          And “she” has some one and a half million followers. There are some yahoos out there who are perfectly fine knowing “she” is not even real.
          Read another article on the subject, someone can use AI to generate these influencers at half the cost of a Only Fans subscription and then crank out even more content and people will pay for it.
          A long time ago, architecture firms had thousands of people on the payroll. Then came along CAD and they could do the same work in less time with less people.
          That is where I am seeing not only Hollywood going, but maybe even sites like Only Fans or even pornhub.

      2. Upstate Farmer,
        I have not seen information about how AI is used to “create.” The very idea of it is creepy. Thank you for the information. I know that this technology will only get “better” and on an exponential rate. A counterfeiter does not set out to make $3 bills. They use real currency and they seek to achieve perfection so that the copy is nearly impossible to detect from the real thing. I can only imagine (not in a good way) the nefarious uses of advanced technology by those who seek to manipulate and propagandize the masses.

        I guess one way to prepare people is by educating ourselves, children, grandchildren, etc. about how to detect the copy, how to detect B.S., how to recognize different methods of mind control and how to know they are being deployed. I do not hold much hope as many people are on a hair trigger to believe what they want to believe.

        “Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest….. Lie-la-lie
        Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie…” (no pun intended on the lie-la-lie).

        Who would have thought Simon and Garfunkel sang prophetic lyrics so long ago? Especially, “Ten thousand people, maybe more, People talking without speaking, People hearing without listening….”

        It’s a brave new world!

  14. What is pretty obvious is you make a comment without facts.
    Can you provide proof of your assertions?
    Or is it an opinion?
    As we have seen, many Democrats want censorship, limits on free speech. The good professor has pointed this our more than a few times: https://jonathanturley.org/2021/08/20/the-new-censors-polls-shows-almost-half-of-americans-favor-the-government-censoring-misinformation/

    Most Democrats want social media censorship: poll

    1. The word, “gay” is not in the bill at all.
      At one point in time, in all professions not just the teaching profession, there was an expectation of separation of ones personal life and ones professional life. Something leftists have abandoned, along with things like sense of decency, common sense and logic.

      1. Yes, the intent is clear, to protect young children.
        Something everyone should agree upon but some of our leftists friends do not.

        1. No.
          The purpose of that law is to protect young children from groomers. From sexalization. From pornography. From teachers and school boards promoting their agendas without parents consent or even knowledge.
          A few examples:


          1. An observation: you are engaging the DNC trolls more than ever. You used to tell us to scroll. I have disengaged from the forum precisely b/c of the constant back/forth with the trolls. I find it repulsive and it does nothing to stimulate growth, build up, contribute to community. You are learning by now that there is no winning with the paid trolls, they are not genuine discussants, they are here to tear down and not build up, they are paid to peddle DNC talking points, they lie, distort, cheat, manipulate, they literally represent evil. I’ll say that again: evil exists, and these trolls personify evil. If they know your/my home address, they most likely would dox us and rain hell on our families. The person with whom you are exchanging comments is Svelaz, Concerned Citizen, Wally, Peter Shill, Bob, etc, etc, etc….too many sock puppets to bring to mind.

            You are an intelligent person. You are more than capable of engaging the issues of the day. I, for one, would like to see your analysis, reasoning, critiquing/supporting of JT’s articles instead of you merely posting a URL with a headline directing others to read. Better if you would show us what your thoughts were so as to foster genuine, honest discussion, something that is sorely lacking on this forum. “Tom’s” recent bombing of the forum with his profane, unhinged war on Dennis/Gigi, has brought this forum to a level of ignominy that I would have never expected. JT allows it for reasons we know. I am guessing Darren is also disgusted, but I could be wrong.

            And so, plz consider contributing to the forum if for no other reason, to teach me something about your way of thinking, which will challenge me. You are someone who is obviously a hard worker, a devoted spouse/family man, a US veteran, a minority and an American. I would profit greatly if you upped your game and taught, led, directed others in thinking x, y and/or z as opposed to engaging the trolls and blindly posting external links.

            Just my 2 cents

            1. Estovir,
              Well said.
              And thank you for point those points out.
              I shall reconsider my presence here on the good professor’s blog.
              However, in my defense, defending children from the perverse and obscene should be combated on every front, even when engaging a foe like the trolls/groomers. If not, that is how we get things like sex trafficking. That kind of evil must be confronted and fought against on every front.

        1. Gaining the trust of students is not the school’s business. Schools are paid by the parents to educate, and they answer to the parents, not the students. Hiding crucial information from parents is antithetical to what schools should be all about.

    2. Democrats embrace Big Brother

      “A hearing Thursday of the House Weaponization of the Federal Government Subcommittee showed the Biden administration is already censoring social media on a massive scale, putting blinders on us all.”

      Censorship is from the left and Democrats.

      I would not censor Bug for his actions, prurient or not. Let the world see the type of fool he is.

      1. If it were not for bug boy, I would never have known how sick, twisted, dark leftists were.
        So, yes, it is insightful. Disturbing but insightful.

  15. “[I]t required social media companies to verify the age of all account holders . . .” (JT)

    If you enjoy the yoke of paternalism, keep pushing government to legislate morality. Or as a responsible parent, you could *parent*.

      1. “Sooner or later any power granted to government will be abused.”

        That should be number one when teaching the rules of civics.

        1. Yes. Our revered legal monuments, the Magna Carta, the common law, the English Bill of Rights (1689), and our Constitution and Bill of Rights are revered because they try to constrain government and its natural tendency to abuse its powers.

          But, I am not sure civics is truly taught in our schools these days. Might give kids ideas about the value of the rule of law rather than rule by despotic bureaucrats and administrative Star Chamber procedures.

  16. This case was about the First Amendment….not the Second Amendment.

    That is why “Anonymous” is rightfully known as “ATS”…..Anonymous the Stupid.

    1. Ralph,
      Let’s not call names: it may backfire. You missed Anonymous point in that both access to free speech and the right to own and carry a gun are constitutionally protected rights. So, there exist an analogy here.

  17. So is there a difference between providing proof in this case and a requirement by a gun store or ammo manufacturer requiring the viewer to attest to their age?

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