United States v. American Library Association, Inc., 539 U.S. 194, 16 (2003)

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

Opinion of Rehnquist, C. J.

that is completely innocuous for both adults and minors, and that no rational person could conclude matches the filtering companies' category definitions, such as 'pornography' or 'sex.' " 201 F. Supp. 2d, at 449. Assuming that such erroneous blocking presents constitutional difficulties, any such concerns are dispelled by the ease with which patrons may have the filtering software disabled. When a patron encounters a blocked site, he need only ask a librarian to unblock it or (at least in the case of adults) disable the filter. As the District Court found, libraries have the capacity to permanently unblock any erroneously blocked site, id., at 429, and the Solicitor General stated at oral argument that a "library may . . . eliminate the filtering with respect to specific sites . . . at the request of a patron," Tr. of Oral Arg. 4. With respect to adults, CIPA also expressly authorizes library officials to "disable" a filter altogether "to enable access for bona fide research or other lawful purposes." 20 U. S. C. 9134(f)(3) (disabling permitted for both adults and minors); 47 U. S. C. 254(h)(6)(D) (disabling permitted for adults). The Solicitor General confirmed that a "librarian can, in response to a request from a patron, unblock the filtering mechanism altogether," Tr. of Oral Arg. 11, and further explained that a patron would not "have to explain . . . why he was asking a site to be unblocked or the filtering to be disabled," id., at 4. The District Court viewed unblocking and disabling as inadequate because some patrons may be too embarrassed to request them. 201 F. Supp. 2d, at 411. But the Constitution does not guarantee the right to acquire information at a public library without any risk of embarrassment.4

4 The dissents argue that overblocking will " 'reduce the adult population . . . to reading only what is fit for children.' " Post, at 222, n. 2 (opinion of Stevens, J.) (quoting Butler v. Michigan, 352 U. S. 380, 383 (1957)). See also post, at 222, and n. 2 (citing Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U. S. 234, 252 (2002); United States v. Playboy Entertainment Group,


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