American Booksellers Ass’n v. Hudnut (1986)


Indianapolis enacted a law that defined pornography as discriminatory towards women. Under the ordinance pornography is, “the graphic sexually explicit subordination or women, whether in pictures or in words” and the ordinance went on to state women are humiliated, portrayed to enjoy rape, treated as objects, and are treated as inferior to men among other claims within the ordinance. The statue also stated the use of men, children, or transsexuals in the place of women also constitute pornography. The ordinance did not refer to any social standards of the community.


Is the Indianapolis ordinance in violation of the 1st Amendment?




The ordinance discriminates based on the content of the speech, and the constitution prohibits the state to take sides based on factors such as these. The first amendment insures that Americans can state their message or ideas without restriction from the government. Under this ordinance sexually explicit speech is considered pornography and any speech that portrays women undesirably under the ordinance is prohibited, and according to the opinion of the court this is “thought control”, and thusly is unconstitutional.

Leave a Reply

A note to our visitors

This website has updated its privacy policy in compliance with changes to European Union data protection law, for all members globally. We’ve also updated our Privacy Policy to give you more information about your rights and responsibilities with respect to your privacy and personal information. Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our updated privacy policy.