Pornography and the Justices: The Supreme Court and the Intractable Obscenity Problem


Richard F. Hixson examines the various ways the United States Supreme Court - the individual justices as well as the collective body - has dealt over time with the intractable problem of obscenity. Hixson proceeds chronologically through eleven chapters, with each chapter featuring a specific aspect of the constitutional problem and the approach or solution espoused by a particular justice. Through his case-by-case analysis of the many Supreme Court obscenity rulings, Hixson relates each decision to the temper of the times. Omnipresent in this discussion, of course, is the United States Constitution, especially the First Amendment upon which the Court bases its decisions. What sets Pornography and the Justices apart from other studies of pornography is its unique focus and its fresh conclusion, which is a composite of views garnered from the Supreme Court justices. As long as the government does not discriminate against specific points of view and as long as there is ample protection of minors and nonconsenting adults, Hixson argues that the private collection of pornography is up to the individual. Hixson contends that the freedom to purchase obscene pornographic matter should be restricted only by time, place, and manner considerations. If a person wants pornography, he or she should be able to get it, albeit perhaps from a higher shelf, in a secluded room, or at a theater clearly marked for adults. Hixson sees no need to legislate personal morals beyond controlling public access.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Carbondale, IL
Publication year:
  • 1996


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