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ALA delivers closing arguments in CIPA trial
American Library Association, April 4, 2002 -- Wrapping up seven days of testimony, American Library Association (ALA) attorneys today presented closing arguments in their legal challenge to the Childrens Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Attorney Paul Smith of Jenner and Block represented the ALA in closing; arguments from both sides lasted about three hours. The ALA legal case has centered on four main points:
CIPA and the Neighborhood Childrens Internet Protection Act (NCIPA) were signed into law December 21, 2000. CIPA mandates the use of blocking technology for public libraries that seek Universal Service discounts (E-rate) for Internet access, Internet service or internal connections, or that seek Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds to purchase computers for Internet access or to pay for Internet access. The ALA and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed lawsuits challenging the law in March 2001. The cases were combined and heard by a three-judge panel made up of two district and one appellate court judge. People for the American Way is serving as supporting counsel for the ALA challenge. ACLU attorney Chris Hanson provided closing arguments on behalf of the Multnomah plaintiffs, and Rupa Bhattacharyya closed on behalf of the government.
We are fortunate to be in the Third Circuit Court, whose judges have confronted these issues before and are familiar with many of the interests at stake, said Judith Krug, director of the ALAs Office for Intellectual Freedom. This morning, the judges asked probing and detailed questions in preparation for their deliberations. The panel consists of Third Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Edward R. Becker, District Court Judge John P. Fullam and District Court Judge Harvey Bartle III.
Proposed findings of fact and legal briefs are due to the court by April 11, and each of the parties will have one opportunity to respond to these findings and briefs by April 18. The judges will likely rule by early May so libraries will have time to prepare before E-rate and LSTA deadlines fall. The ALA will continue to post updates as they become available at www.ala.org/cipa.
NEW (as of April 12, 2002) from CIPA's Litigation Page: Please continue to check http://www.ala.org/cipa/litigation.html for further updates. (PDF files will open in separate window. Adobe Acrobat Reader necessary, free download available)
CIPA and School Libraries
Prepared by Jenner & Block, ALA Legal Counsel, September 2001 --
Why does the American Library Association believe that the Children's Internet Protection Act is unconstitutional?
The filtering mandate imposed by Congress imposes restrictions on access to constitutionally protected speech on the patrons served by libra ries. Restrictions on access to speech in the library are antithetical to the mission of the library to provide patrons with unfettered access to all available and constitutionally protected speech.
Does the American Library Association believe the Act is unconstitutional in the school library context?
Is the American Library Association currently challenging the Children's Internet Protection Act on behalf of school libraries?
What does the term "legal standing" mean?
Why does the American Library Association lack legal standing to challenge the law on behalf of school libraries?
Will the current CIPA litigation have any impact on school libraries?
Will the American Library Association assist the school community to challenge the provisions of CIPA?