Sexual Rights in America: The Ninth Amendment and the Pursuit of Happiness

By Paul R. Abramson; Steven D. Pinkerton et al. | Go to book overview

7
Child Pornography
Black,White, and Gray

THE DECEIT, COERCION, and harm implicit in pornographic images of children evokes nearly universal condemnation. Child pornography is particularly horrifying not only because it documents the criminal sexual abuse of a child, but because this enduring record of abuse violates the child's right to future privacy and because such pornography often is used as a tool to perpetuate the sexual exploitation of children.1

Not surprisingly, there are few advocates of child pornography. Save the discrete musings of individual pedophiles, or of pedophile organizations such as the North American Man-Boy Love Association, few clamor to this cause. Clearly, child pornography is, and should be, ganz verboten. But while it is easy to condemn child pornography, it is much more difficult to identify possible instances of child pornography as child pornography.

Take the case of U.S. v. Knox, which was first argued before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in August 1992.2 Stephen Knox was a graduate student at Pennsylvania State University in whose possession were found three films of very young girls dancing around in bathing suits, leotards, and similarly “revealing” attire. Although none of the girls were naked, “crotch shots” were prominently featured in all three films, which had titles like “Little Girl Bottoms.” Because of the camera's insistent focus on the girls' (clothed) genital regions, the films were deemed to have included “lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area” and Knox was convicted of child pornography.

When Knox filed an appeal seeking to overturn his conviction, arguing, among other things, that the absence of nudity invalidated the “lascivious exhibition” finding, the Justice Department concurred. The Chief Supreme Court Advocate, Solicitor General Drew S. Days III, filed

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Sexual Rights in America: The Ninth Amendment and the Pursuit of Happiness
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • 1: Sex and the Constitution 1
  • 2: History and Interpretation of the Ninth Amendment 22
  • 3: The Poverty of Privacy 45
  • 4: A Solid Foundation for Sexual Rights 66
  • 5: What Can We Learn from Dial-A-Porn? 91
  • 6: Does Prostitution Deserve Constitutional Protection? 111
  • 7: Child Pornography Black,White, and Gray 138
  • 8: The Past and Future of the Ninth Amendment 165
  • Notes 187
  • References 213
  • Index 221
  • About the Authors 227
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