Supreme Court Won’t Hear Extreme Associates Case

Michael Hayes
WASHINGTON — Weighing in on the long-running obscenity battle between the U.S government and Rob Black’s Extreme Associates, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the company’s appeal, sending the criminal case back to the district court in Pittsburgh for trial.

Black, whose real name is Rob Zicari, and Extreme Associates had initially prevailed in Judge Gary Lancaster’s U.S. District Court. Judge Lancaster ruled that the federal anti-obscenity statutes were unconstitutional as applied to Extreme because the law violated an individual’s right to privacy. However, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision.

“We conclude that directly applicable Supreme Court precedent, upholding the constitutionality of the federal statutes regulating the distribution of obscenity under 1st Amendment and substantive due process privacy rights, governs this case,” the 3rd Circuit Court said in its opinion.

Extreme Associates then appealed that ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court’s denial of certiorari, a legal writ asking for appellate review, means that the 3rd Circuit ruling — that the trial court was in error — will stand.

In other words, the obscenity trial for the gonzo-themed company is back on.

Black, who told XBIZ that he is confident that he and Extreme will be vindicated at trial, sees the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case as more of a disappointment than a setback.

When [the case] goes down, we’ll win,” Black said. “I wanted the Supreme Court to hear this because being there is something on a grand scale. It’s like the fucking Super Bowl. But I have no doubt that we’ll prevail.”

The likelihood that Black will go to trial has many on the conservative right champing at the bit, as his case is the first federal obscenity trial in a decade.

“By calling it ‘Extreme,’ they aren’t product-puffing,” Jan LaRue, Concerned Women for America’s chief counsel, said. “This is some of the most vile and disgusting porn available anywhere. Thankfully, the courts have rejected this ridiculous challenge to the federal law.”

If convicted, Black and his wife Janet Romano, who goes by the name Lizzie Borden, face up to 50 years in prison and a fine of $2.5 million.