ACLU Eagerly Takes Up Case of Sex Offenders in California

Following the passage of California's Proposition 35 on Nov. 6, the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit to stop the measure against child predators from taking force.

The section of Prop. 35 against which the ACLU took issue is that which "requires registered sex offenders to give authorities a list of their Internet providers and screen names."

The ACLU of Northern California joined with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and brought suit in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco on behalf of two sex offenders who objected to disclosing that information.

In other words, Prop. 35 would remove their aliases and make it much harder for them to interact with children who are unaware that they were predators.

The ACLU argued that "the requirement restricts offenders' First Amendment right to free speech and their due process and equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment."

In response, a U.S. District Judge temporarily halted the measure until there can be a full hearing on Nov. 20.  The judge agreed with the ACLU that there are "serious constitutional questions" that need to be answered regarding certain aspects of Prop. 35.

What the ACLU has missed here is that First Amendment rights for sexual predators are greatly diminished by the crimes they commit.  Just as felons lose their voting privileges or the right to purchase or even be in possession of a firearm, so too someone who preys on a child loses certain aspects of the freedom he or she enjoyed theretofore.

Is speech that lures a child into a dark alley, a strange car, or any other kidnap situation now to be considered protected speech?

At some point, all of us have to put politics, petty preferences, and self-interest aside and understand that children not only are worth protecting, but must be protected.

If there are individuals walking free in our society with proven tendencies to abduct, molest, or otherwise abuse children (and a conviction for same), why in the world would we want to make it easier for them to conceal their identities from children and parents alike?

Shame on the ACLU and EFF for taking this stand against the safety and sanctity of children in California.

Alan Sears, who was executive director of the attorney general's Commission on Pornography under President Reagan, is president, CEO, and general counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom.

Following the passage of California's Proposition 35 on Nov. 6, the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit to stop the measure against child predators from taking force.

The section of Prop. 35 against which the ACLU took issue is that which "requires registered sex offenders to give authorities a list of their Internet providers and screen names."

The ACLU of Northern California joined with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and brought suit in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco on behalf of two sex offenders who objected to disclosing that information.

In other words, Prop. 35 would remove their aliases and make it much harder for them to interact with children who are unaware that they were predators.

The ACLU argued that "the requirement restricts offenders' First Amendment right to free speech and their due process and equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment."

In response, a U.S. District Judge temporarily halted the measure until there can be a full hearing on Nov. 20.  The judge agreed with the ACLU that there are "serious constitutional questions" that need to be answered regarding certain aspects of Prop. 35.

What the ACLU has missed here is that First Amendment rights for sexual predators are greatly diminished by the crimes they commit.  Just as felons lose their voting privileges or the right to purchase or even be in possession of a firearm, so too someone who preys on a child loses certain aspects of the freedom he or she enjoyed theretofore.

Is speech that lures a child into a dark alley, a strange car, or any other kidnap situation now to be considered protected speech?

At some point, all of us have to put politics, petty preferences, and self-interest aside and understand that children not only are worth protecting, but must be protected.

If there are individuals walking free in our society with proven tendencies to abduct, molest, or otherwise abuse children (and a conviction for same), why in the world would we want to make it easier for them to conceal their identities from children and parents alike?

Shame on the ACLU and EFF for taking this stand against the safety and sanctity of children in California.

Alan Sears, who was executive director of the attorney general's Commission on Pornography under President Reagan, is president, CEO, and general counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom.

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