Courts Lift Ban on Child Pornography

WASHINGTON?The Supreme Court struck down a congressional ban on virtual child pornography Tuesday, ruling that the First Amendment protects pornography or other sexual images that only appear to depict real children engaged in sex.

The 6-3 ruling is a victory for both pornographers and moviemakers, who argued that a broad ban on simulated child sex could make it a crime to depict a sex scene like those in the recent movies “Traffic” or “Lolita.”

The court said language in a 1996 child pornography law was unconstitutionally vague and far-reaching.

The court majority, led by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, found two provisions of the Child Pornography Prevention Act overly broad and unconstitutional.

The law barred sexually explicit material that “appear(s) to be a minor” or that “conveys the impression” that a minor was involved in its creation.