FSC Files Appeals Brief in 2257 Case

Rhett Pardon

PHILADELPHIA — Attorneys for the Free Speech Coalition and 15 co-plaintiffs delivered a brief to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today challenging the constitutionality of 18 U.S.C. §2257 and 2257A, the federal record-keeping statutes for adult producers.

The adult entertainment trade group is appealing U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson's decision last summer finding the 2257 statutes constitutional under the First Amendment. The ruling in July came after an eight-day bench trial where 21 witnesses presented testimony and over 300 exhibits were entered into evidence.

At trial, Baylson ruled that the statutes are constitutional under the Fourth Amendment, except for in one regard — "the allowance of inspections at the residences of producers, without prior notice, cannot be justified on this record."

Today's appeals brief looks at three points for the court to review:

  • Whether 18 U.S.C. §§ 2257, 2257A and their implementing regulations are unconstitutional under the First Amendment because they are not narrowly tailored to advance the government’s interest in protecting children from sexual exploitation, as intermediate scrutiny requires, and consequently burden substantially more of plaintiffs’ constitutionally protected speech than necessary";
  • Whether 18 U.S.C. §§ 2257, 2257A and their implementing regulations are facially unconstitutional under the First Amendment because they are overbroad; and,
  • Whether 18 U.S.C. §§ 2257, 2257A and their implementing regulations are unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment because they authorize warrantless searches without probable cause and do not satisfy the requirements of the administrative search exception.

The appeals brief, filed by attorneys J. Michael Murray and Lorraine Baumgardner representing the FSC, asks a 3rd Circuit panel to reverse Baylson's ruling and remand with instructions to enter a judgment declaring 18 U.S.C. §§ 2257, 2257A and their implementing regulations unconstitutional under the First and Fourth Amendments and permanently enjoining their enforcement.

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