A Virginia judge rejected a Republican-brought lawsuit that sought to ban two books across the state by using an arcane obscenity act.
The suit against Barnes & NobleRepublican state Del. Tim Anderson on behalf of former Republican state congressional candidate Tommy Altman, argued that two books that have been the target of widespread conservative attacks should be declared in violation of an old obscenity law — and that, in a step beyond previous GOP book banning campaigns, the books should be banned from being sold or sharedThroughout the entire state.
Judge Pamela Baskervill ruled that the obscenity law that Anderson had attempted to use to ban the books is “unconstitutional on its face” and that it couldn’t be used to implement a book ban; such laws are almost never usedIn modern legal contexts.
The Republican stunt was yet another in the far right’s Campaign to ban and censor booksThey are fighting in part to litigate, politicize, and politicize Black and LGBTQ people’s existence, as well as other marginalized groups. Anderson has said that he is considering appealing Baskervill’s decision.
Anderson and Altman wanted to ban one of these books. Gender QueerMaia Kobabe has created a graphic novel. concerning the author’s nonbinary identity. The other, A Court of Mist and FuryThe novel, titled “The Young Adult Series”, is written by Sarah J. Maas. It depicts scenes between straight characters.
The Republicans said they believe the books shouldn’t be read by children — though Experts agreeThe Republican hand-wringing about books, especially those with LGBTQ themes, is just a vehicle for white supremacy or fascism.
“When you’re asking a court to make a ruling in criminal law that has the result of restricting the sale of a book — that’s censorship,” Barnes & Noble’s attorney, Bob Corn-Revere, said in courtTuesday
Anderson has arguedHe believes that books should be rated like movies or video games. However, his decision to ban the books may be a better indication of his intentions. Republicans have also waged bigoted attempts to manipulate TV rating systems to add warnings for “disturbing” LGBTQ content.
Even without discriminatory categorizations, media ratings systems are still useful. have been criticized in the past by LGBTQ advocates who say they’re used in a way that’s biased against LGBTQ people; a similar system for books could end up being used the same way.
“There is a movement spreading around the country that seeks to make this a political wedge issue, trying to cast books with any sexual content whatsoever as legally obscene,” Jonathan Friedman, PEN America director of free expression and education, told Slate. “It’s a small group of people trying to decide what everyone should have access to.”
Opponents of the case have said that they’re pleased with the ruling and the fact that the judge ruledNot only is it against the case, but also the law itself. This could potentially prevent similar cases from being filed.
“The First Amendment protects literary expression, even when some people find portions of the works difficult or objectionable,” Matt Calahan, senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union Virginia, told Motherboard. “All people should be able to choose what they wish to read.”