Woodhull Urges the Supreme Court to Find Texas AV Law Unconstitutional

Woodhull Urges the Supreme Court to Find Texas AV Law Unconstitutional

WASHINGTON — The Woodhull Freedom Foundation and the Electronic Frontier Foundation submitted a brief to the United States Supreme Court on Thursday, urging the justices to rule against Texas’ age verification law.

“We filed in support of the constitutional challenge brought by the ACLU, the Free Speech Coalition and others, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a lower court ruling that, if left standing, would impermissibly burden free speech online, involving the unconstitutional age verification mandate in Texas’ HB 1181,” said a Woodhull rep.

Woodhull’s participation in the case was made possible by a donation from internet hosting provider MojoHost. Woodhull Freedom Foundation is represented by Lawrence G. Walters of Walters Law Group, Corey Silverstein and Kevin Toll of Silverstein Legal, and Aaron Mackey of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

“As explained in the amicus brief filed in support of the petitioners’ request that the court review the decision from the 5th Circuit upholding the law, imposing mandatory online age and identity verification to access adult content violates the First Amendment under well-established precedent,” the rep noted.

Ricci Levy, President and CEO of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, explained, “We rely on the court to ignore misinformation and, instead, rule based only on the law. The Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized the significant burden and risk created by requiring users to verify their age and identity to access protected content, rendering such requirements unconstitutional where less restrictive alternatives exist. In Ashcroft v. ACLU, the court reaffirmed that the government cannot impose age verification on adults in the name of protecting children.

“If the true goal of these measures is to protect children from material that isn’t age-appropriate, which we fully support, other less intrusive options are already available to accomplish this goal — and must be used in order to protect the rights of adults,” Ricci added. “But if the real goal is to block adult access and shut down the adult content currently available, and if the justices allow that to happen, then democracy as we believe it to be is dead. A big thank you to MojoHost for donating the necessary funds to defray the legal fees and costs of filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court.”

MojoHost President Brad Mitchell said, “As a parent, business owner and web host for 25 years, I can’t remain silent while our constitution is violated in the name of child protection when I know for a fact that this bad legislation puts both our children and our rights as Americans in peril. I am proud to support Woodhull and the EFF’s efforts in seeking this writ of certiorari. Inhibiting free speech does nothing to protect our children; it will only result in elevating worse content such as CSAM, copyright theft and abusive materials from other jurisdictions outside of the United States, where enforcement is impossible and viewing is freely available. It was a no-brainer to financially support these great organizations in combating outright speech suppression.”

Walters commented, “The outcome of this case, if accepted, will have a monumental impact on freedom of speech, data privacy and First Amendment law. We remain hopeful that the justices will decide to grant certiorari and invalidate the blatantly unconstitutional Texas age verification law. I am grateful to be a part of the stellar legal team that drafted the amicus brief for Woodhull and EFF.”

Silverstein added, “I am very proud of being part of the legal team tasked by Woodhull and the EFF to combat this outright trampling of the First Amendment and existing Supreme Court precedent. Texas’ age verification bill needs to be stopped in its tracks and I am hopeful and confident that the justices of the Supreme Court will utilize their wisdom, grant certiorari and give the petitioner the opportunity to present its case as to why the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has made such a terrible error. Woodhull and the EFF are incredible organizations and their dedication to protecting free speech is unmatched.”

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