United States v. Williams

553 U.S. 285 (2008)

Summary: This case was a challenge related to a pandering provision of the PROTECT Act.

History: On, May 19, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court held 7-2, with the majority opinion written by Justice Scalia, a concurrence by Justice Stevens, and a dissent by Justice Souter joined by Justice Ginsburg, that the PROTECT Act is nether overboard under the First Amendment nor impermissibly vague under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

An amicus brief was submitted on behalf of some Media Coalition members on August 14, 2007. It focused on the danger to mainstream media marketing if the pandering doctrine is expanded so that marketing can be deemed illegal even if the product is not illegal, solely because the marketing may suggest to some that the product is illegal. The brief also argued that the law only applies to material with sexual content and therefore is a restriction based on content.

In this case, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals earlier ruled the pandering provision of the PROTECT ACT unconstitutional because it makes it illegal to pander material even if it is not colorably what it is held out as.