U.S. Supreme Court to Rule on "Crush Videos"

At the request of the Soliciter General, the Supreme Court will review a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia, Pa., which overturned a conviction involving so-called "crush videos" and called the law prohibiting interstate trafficking in such footage an unconstitutional infringement on free speech.

Upon learning about videos showing women in stilettos or bare feet stomping on small animals, Congress passed a law in 1999 (P.L. 106-152), which the Animal Welfare Institute fought for, outlawing the creation, possession or sale for commercial gain of almost any depiction of animal cruelty. Subsequently, in 2005, Robert Stevens of Virginia was convicted of selling dogfighting films and sentenced to 37 months in jail.

The appeals court, however, overturned that conviction. According to the ABA Journal, in requesting the review of the appeals court decision, the Soliciter General argued that videos showing intentional infliction of suffering "play no essential role in the expression of ideas."

This case will be on the Supreme Court’s docket for the new term, beginning in October.