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David Souter on Technology

Supreme Court Justice (nominated by Pres. Bush Sr. 1990)


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On intellectual property & distribution of freelance material: As a district court judge in 1997, Sotomayor heard a case brought by a group of freelance journalists who asserted that various news organizations, including the New York Times, violated copyright laws by reproducing the freelancers' work on electronic databases and archives such as "Lexis/Nexis" without first obtaining their permission. Sotomayor ruled against the freelancers and said that publishers were within their rights as outlined by the 1976 Copyright Act. The appellate court reversed Sotomayor's decision, siding with the freelancers, and the Supreme Court upheld the appellate decision (therefore rejecting Sotomayor's original ruling). Justices Stevens and Breyer dissented, taking Sotomayor's position. (Tasini vs. New York Times, 1997)
Source: CNN report on upcoming Sotomayor hearings , Aug 1, 2009

Free speech protects Playboy Channel from "signal bleed" law

[The Supreme Court] struck down a law aimed at preventing sexually explicit channels, like the Playboy Channel, having their visual or audio signal intruding ("bleeding") into homes of viewers who had not subscribed to such salacious stuff. Signal bleed, as it is called, was obviously a serious problem for parents concerned about their children. Drawing from First Amendment precedents, Justice Kennedy--the ardent First Amendment defender--combined with Ginsburg, Souter, Stevens, and Thomas to invalidate the law on First Amendment grounds. The reason was not love of Playboy Channel material. Rather, the same result (protecting homes against unwanted signals) could have been achieved through less intrusive methods.

Justice Breyer challenged Justice Kennedy's analysis: "I could not disagree more when the majority implies that such protection--preventing, say, an 8-year-old from watching virulent pornography without parental consent--might not be 'compelling.'"

Source: First Among Equals, by Kenneth Starr, p. 38-39 , Oct 10, 2002

Other Justices on Technology: David Souter on other issues:
Samuel Alito
Stephen Breyer
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Elena Kagan
Anthony Kennedy
John Roberts
Antonin Scalia
Sonia Sotomayor
Clarence Thomas

Former Justices:
David Souter
Sandra Day O'Connor
William Rehnquist
John Paul Stevens

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Page last updated: Jul 13, 2015