Wednesday, June 03, 2009

"Too Important to Decide Immediately"

Ed Winkleman "want[s] to know ... where [Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor] comes down on issues of free speech and in particular where that meets art." He discusses one case, "involv[ing] a sex offender on parole who was found with porn (a violation of his parole terms)."

Here's another data point, from 1999:

"The Giuliani administration won a round yesterday in its legal fight to keep a Brooklyn artist from assembling 100 naked people in lower Manhattan for a photograph.

"Responding to an emergency appeal by the city, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a temporary stay of a Federal District Court judge's decision that would have allowed the session by the artist, [Spencer] Tunick. ...

"The stay, issued by a three-judge panel convened for an unusual Saturday session, effectively put Mr. Tunick's plan to photograph the 100 nude people on hold ....

"The ruling superseded Friday's decision by Judge Harold Baer Jr. of United States District Court in Manhattan, who ruled in favor of Mr. Tunick, finding that artistic nude photography is a form of expression protected by the First Amendment as well by state law. ... But the three judges for the Second Circuit -- Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Judge Robert D. Sack and Judge Ralph K. Winter Jr. ... -- told [the parties' lawyers] the case was too important to decide immediately."

Tunick eventually prevailed, though Sotomayor was not on the Second Circuit panel that ended up deciding the case.