Justice Dept. appeals CDA ruling

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The Justice Department, as expected, said it will appeal to the Supreme Court a Philadelphia court ruling overturning major decency restrictions on the Internet contained in the Communications Decency Act. Congress had anticipated the possibility of an appeal and provided a quick appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is now expected to hear the case in September.

However, the high court seemed to issue a warning on Friday that the appeal might not fall on friendly ears.

In a decision affecting cable TV providers, the high court struck down restrictions aimed at keeping "smut" off local access channels on cable TV, ruling that cable operators can't be required to bar such shows or put them on a single channel.

The justices divided differently on several aspects of the cable law provisions added on at the last minute by Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., but seemed to display serious reservations on regulating decency unless there is demonstrated harm to children.

Those same reservations may apply to the appeal of the Communications Decency Act, which the court is expected to hear this fall.

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