United States v. American Library Association, Inc., 539 U.S. 194, 6 (2003)

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Cite as: 539 U. S. 194 (2003)

Opinion of Rehnquist, C. J.

the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), 114 Stat. 2763A-335. Under CIPA, a public library may not receive federal assistance to provide Internet access unless it installs software to block images that constitute obscenity or child pornography, and to prevent minors from obtaining access to material that is harmful to them. The District Court held these provisions facially invalid on the ground that they induce public libraries to violate patrons' First Amendment rights. We now reverse.

To help public libraries provide their patrons with Internet access, Congress offers two forms of federal assistance. First, the E-rate program established by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 entitles qualifying libraries to buy Internet access at a discount. 110 Stat. 71, 47 U. S. C. 254(h)(1)(B). In the year ending June 30, 2002, libraries received $58.5 million in such discounts. Redacted Joint Trial Stipulations of All Parties in Nos. 01-CV-1303, etc. (ED Pa.), ¶ 128, p. 16 (hereinafter Jt. Tr. Stip.). Second, pursuant to the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), 110 Stat. 3009-295, as amended, 20 U. S. C. 9101 et seq., the Institute of Museum and Library Services makes grants to state library administrative agencies to "electronically lin[k] libraries with educational, social, or information services," "assis[t] libraries in accessing information through electronic networks," and "pa[y] costs for libraries to acquire or share computer systems and telecommunications technologies." 9141(a)(1)(B), (C), (E). In fiscal year 2002, Congress appropriated more than $149 million in LSTA grants. Jt. Tr. Stip. ¶ 185, p. 26. These programs have succeeded greatly in bringing Internet access to public libraries: By 2000, 95% of the Nation's libraries provided public Internet access. J. Bertot & C. McClure, Public Libraries and the Internet 2000: Summary Findings and Data Tables, p. 3 (Sept. 7, 2000), http://www.nclis.gov/statsurv/2000plo.pdf (all Internet materials as visited Mar. 25, 2003, and available in Clerk of Court's case file).


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