United States v. Williams

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United States v. Williams presents a question to the U.S. Supreme Court about child pornography and commercial free speech:

  • Whether 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(3)(B) is overbroad and impermissibly vague, and thus facially unconstitutional, when the statute prescribes punishment for one who "knowingly advertises, promotes, presents, distributes, or solicits ... any material or purported material in a manner that reflects the belief, or that is intended to cause another to believe, that the material or purported material is or contains" illegal child pornography.

In other words, the issue is whether a federal law that criminalizes pandering or promoting child pornography is unconstitutional even if the child pornography itself does not exist. There is no question that child pornography itself is illegal and its possession results in long prison sentences. But the Court will review an appellate decision that invalidated a law criminalizing commercial speech related to child pornography.