Monday, January 26, 2015

When Did You Stop Beating Your Wife?

I was not a little shocked to see Mary Anne Franks make a terrifically disingenuous argument about Arizona's recently overturned, insanely broad revenge porn law:
But the American Civil Liberties Union sued in September, arguing House Bill 2515 was so broad it made anyone who distributes or displays a nude image without explicit permission guilty of a felony. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton issued an order putting the law on hold in November as part of an agreement between the Arizona attorney general's office and the groups that sued. The order blocks enforcement of the law to allow the Legislature time to work on changes.

The ACLU sued on behalf of several bookstores and publishing associations, the owner of the Village Voice and 12 other alternative newsweeklies nationwide, and the National Press Photographers Association.

The groups sent Mesnard and legislative leaders a letter early this month suggesting changes to the law to address its concerns that the law was overly broad. They said, for instance, that the law would make it a felony to publish a book containing a Pulitzer Prize-winning Vietnam war photo of a burned and nude little girl running from her bombed village.
As Mark W. Bennett writes,
The argument is either ignorant or dishonest. Franks doesn’t get to plead ignorance here. She knows the argument is dishonest and she makes it anyway.
This strikes me as a constant with many feminist lawyers, as for example the horrible Alexandra Brodsky essay that dispenses with due process by substituting a totalitarian and ironic "fair process". Brodsky is presumably conversant enough with the law that she should know the difference — or perhaps does and doesn't care. Similar issues hold with Russlyn Ali and her "Dear Colleague" letter (PDF). It reminds one of nothing so much as the awful, complex question, "When did you stop beating your wife?" The ends are what is important; the means, not so much.

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