CITIZENS INTERNET EMPOWERMENT COALITION
1634 EYE STREET, N.W.
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 26, 1997
Sydney Rubin 301/654-5991
Megan Lamb 202/828-8893
Fleishman-Hillard Public Relations
Jonah Seiger 202/637-9800
Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S.
Supreme Court today handed down its decision in the challenge
to the Communications Decency Act - a landmark ruling that establishes
how the First Amendment governing free speech will apply to the
newest medium of communications. At a news conference held shortly
after the decision by plaintiffs and the attorneys who argued
the case, the following statements were made in response to the
Bruce J. Ennis, lead attorney from the law firm of Jenner &
Block: "In its decision today, the Supreme Court has
firmly established that the Internet deserves the highest level
of constitutional protection. Because of today's decision, the
Internet will be allowed to flourish without government censorship
and interference. In this decision, the Court has made clear that
Congress cannot restrict constitutionally protected speech on
Jerry Berman, Executive Director of the Center for Democracy
and Technology and coordinator of the plaintiffs group, the Citizens
Internet Empowerment Coalition: "By rejecting the CDA,
the Supreme Court has guaranteed that the First Amendment and
the free flow of ideas will thrive in the Information Age. Today's
decision is not only a victory for free speech, but also for the
right of users to surf the net in a manner consistent with family
and individual values."
Bill Burrington, Assistant General Counsel and Director of
Law and Public Affairs at America Online: "Parents can
better decide what is appropriate for their children than government
regulation. Parents today can control what comes into their homes
from the Internet through easy-to-use technology, such as that
provided by every on-line service provider. The challenge now
is to make those tools a normal part of the American family's
everyday life, and we're well on the road to doing that."
Mary R. Somerville, President of the American Library Association,
said: "The Supreme Court's ruling is a victory for librarians,
Internet users and everyone who cares about free speech. It means
Americans will enjoy access to the same information in cyberspace
that we have on library and bookstore shelves."
Barry and Michele Fagin, founders of Families Against Internet
Censorship, in Colorado Springs, Colorado: "This is a
terrific, pro-family decision. The Court has placed the responsibility
for protecting children where it belongs - with us, parents."
Andrew Jay Schwartzman, President of the Media Access Project,
said: "The First Amendment was written with quill pens
on parchment, but its words have no less meaning on a video monitor
screen. Scholars will be studying this decision for years, but
you don't have to be a lawyer to understand its message: Congress
cannot strangle the Internet. Democracy depends on more, not less,
political and social discourse."
Elliot Mincberg, Executive Director of People for the American
Way, said: "Today's ruling is an affirmation of the First
Amendment and a clear rejection of the views of far-right groups,
which sought to exclude communications media for the 21st
century from the First Amendment freedoms we enjoy. Our Founding
Fathers could not have envisioned the Internet, but they were
all too familiar with the kind of government censorship the CDA
Nigel Spicer, President of Microsystems Software, an Internet
filtering software maker, said: "The whole world has
been waiting for this decision which is model for how a democratic
society deals with the free flow of information in a new medium.
The U.S. Supreme Court not only has offered guidance to Americans,
but to other governments around the world."
Press Releases from CIEC Member Organizations: