Seven Library Groups Join ACLU Suit Against CIPA

Seven Library Groups Join
ACLU Suit Against CIPA

“There used to be a saying, ‘As Maine goes, so goes the nation.’ I think this speaks to that,” Maine Library Association Executive Director Jay Scherma told the Associated Press February 7 as he confirmed that MLA had become the first plaintiff in the American Civil Liberties Union’s federal suit against the Children’s Internet Protection Act. Scherma’s optimism was well-placed: ACLU national staff attorney Ann Beeson confirmed to American Libraries that at least two other American Library Association chapters and four library systems will join the ACLU suit when it is filed sometime in mid-March.

In addition to ALA’s Maine chapter, the library plaintiffs so far are: the Connecticut and Wisconsin library associations, the Multnomah County (Oreg.) Library, the Santa Cruz (Calif.) Public Library, the Madison-based South Central Library System in Wisconsin, and the Westchester Library System in Ardsley, New York. According to the February 20 Ann Arbor News, the Ann Arbor (Mich.) District Library is also considering joining the suit.

Other litigants will include as many as eight individual patrons from the service areas of the library plaintiffs, and owners of Web sites that are blocked. Beeson added that while the ACLU is focusing its challenge on CIPA’s public-library provisions, “there might be a later suit” seeking to overturn the law’s filtering mandate for schools.

The ALA Executive Board voted at the Midwinter Meeting in January to challenge CIPA’s constitutionality in a separate lawsuit.

Posted February 26, 2001.