Naked City

Beyond City Limits

The long-running legal adventures of the Texas Association of Business continued this week, with a state district judge ordering the arrest of two T.A.B. employees and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granting their release the same day. Jack Campbell and Cathy DeWitt were booked (but were spared the cell) for refusing to testify about the organization's $2 million political ad campaign during the 2002 election cycle. T.A.B. is under a grand-jury investigation for underwriting the campaign with corporate money, illegal under Texas law. At press time, no date had been set for a hearing before the criminal-appeals court, where T.A.B. attorney Andy Taylor hopes to win a reversal of the lower court's decision to continue the grand-jury probe. -- Amy Smith

Unlike that on affirmative action, the news from the Supreme Court wasn't so good for intellectual freedom this week: The court ruled 6-3 to uphold the Children's Internet Protection Act, the third attempt by Congress to use federal power to crack down on cybersmut. CIPA, which requires libraries to install Internet filtering software or lose federal funds, had been in limbo since it was passed in 2000; a federal district court had sided with the American Library Association that the legislation imposed unconstitutional barriers on freedom of expression, since Internet filters often mechanically block sites that aren't anything close to pornographic. (Austin Public Library offers both filtered and unfiltered Internet access at each of its branches.) Conservatives, who normally object to having decisions made for them by government-run machines, hailed the CIPA ruling: Said Focus on the Family, "The truth is that many libraries have become dens of significant danger to children and adults alike." -- M.C.M.

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