Thursday, February 23, 2017

Is there nothing activist judges will not get involved? We now live in a judicial theocracy where the Constitution means little.

Judge blocks California law limiting publication of actors' ages

02/22/17 05:56 PM EST
A federal judge has barred the State of California from enforcing a new law limiting online publication of actors' ages.
Acting in a case brought by online movie information website IMDb, U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria ruled Wednesday that the California law likely violates the First Amendment and appears poorly tailored to proponents' stated goal of preventing age discrimination in Hollywood
"Because the government has presented nothing to suggest that [the measure] would actually combat age discrimination [much less that it's necessary to combat age discrimination], there is an exceedingly strong likelihood that IMDb will prevail in this lawsuit," Chhabria wrote in a three-page order.
The judge expressed deep skepticism that the law, which he said appeared to apply only to IMDb, would have any effect on discrimination.
"it's not clear how preventing one mere website from publishing age information could meaningfully combat discrimination at all. And even if restricting publication on this one website could confer some marginal anti-discrimination benefit, there are likely more direct, more effective, and less speech-restrictive ways of achieving the same end," Chhabria wrote.
The judge rejected the state's arguments that the law was a regulation of commercial speech, finding that IMDb was acting as a publisher in posting the birthday and age information online.
"The statute prevents IMDb from publishing factual information [ about the ages of people in the entertainment industry] on its website for public consumption. This is a restriction of non-commercial speech on the basis of content," the judge wrote.
State officials and the Screen Actors Guild have argued that IMDb is using age information from actors' paid profiles to display on the public site. 
The Screen Actors Guild, or SAG-AFTRA, the key force behind the legislation, said it regretted the decision but doesn't consider it a final word on the law.
"We are disappointed that the court has chosen to temporarily halt the State of California’s legal efforts to fully protect its citizens from employment discrimination. We look forward to the upcoming opportunity to present evidence to the Court of how this law will reduce or eliminate the age discrimination facilitated by," SAG-AFTRA General Counsel Duncan-Crabtree-Ireland said in a statement.
"This is an early skirmish in what will be a long-term battle to ensure that entertainment industry workers are granted the same minimum employment protections as all other workers," the union official added.
A spokesperson for California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the office is reviewing the order.
Chhabria is an appointee of President Barack Obama.

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