WASHINGTON Federal courts could not dictate how states make laws barring pornography if a bill reintroduced Thursday by Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, became law.
The Pornography Jurisdiction Limitation Act of 2008 would not allow federal courts to take up cases that question whether any states' pornography laws are constitutional.
Cannon argues that the Supreme Court says the moral standards of the community define what can be considered obscene, so "it makes sense" that people in Utah and the state courts have the final say on such laws.
"For too long, federal courts have created a dangerous climate for our children by overturning important decisions of state courts that restrict pornography consumption and distribution within its borders," Cannon said. "Pornographers should not be able to shop for a federal judge in California with the authority to tell Utahns what is and what is not obscene and unacceptable."
A federal challenge to a Utah state law could push the case to the Ninth District Court of Appeals, which has a liberal reputation. Cannon wants to avoid a federal court overturning what a state has decided it would use to police pornography.
"There is persuasive historical precedent for limiting jurisdiction," Cannon said. "In no way does this legislation deny anyone his day in court. Instead, it simply shifts that decision from the federal court system to the system closest to the people of Utah and other states."Cannon introduced the same bill in 2006, but it never made it out of committee.