And so it begins. . .
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a lawsuit. The first true legal challenge to FOSTA has been filed. Woodhull Freedom Foundation, et al. v United States.
This lawsuit has been filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation and other plaintiffs in an effort to have FOSTA overturned in the courts for violating three different aspects of the United States Constitution. According to the brief published online, EFF is agreeing that FOSTA violates the First and Fifth Amendments as well as Article II, Section 9 of the Constitution.
Looking over the limited material that has been published online about this lawsuit, I do feel somewhat optimistic. The brief gives specific arguments regarding how FOSTA violates each of these parts of the Constitution, and while those arguments are not detailed, they are valid on face value. Especially the argument concerning FOSTA violating Article II, Section 9, which states that Congress may not pass any ex post facto laws, which FOSTA clearly does.
Furthermore, the brief argues that the law is far to vague, a point that may have great influence on the current Supreme Court considering their recent ruling against a federal deportation law which the Court found to be overly vague (Sessions v Dimaya). Ordinarily I would not be in any way optimistic about finding favor for this lawsuit in a conservative leaning Court, considering Conservatives are unlikely to be allies of the CTS community, but this recent ruling showed a Court that does not like vaguely written legislation.
All in all, this is a good sign. It could take a while for such a lawsuit to work its way through the court system. Congress does not like to have its laws challenged. And our ego-driven President certainly has shown that he does not like to be challenged in court. So we have a fight on our hands. A big one.
How can you help in the fight?
Talk about it. Let your Senators and Representatives know that you support this lawsuit. Tell them not to support fighting it. Vote accordingly in November. Vote in favor of Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Business, Freedom of Sex. (Wouldn’t that be one hell of a platform for a candidate to run on!)
Lawsuits like this get expensive. I expect you will be seeing fundraising efforts popping up online to help this lawsuit. If you can give, do so. Be careful that you really are giving to support THIS lawsuit. Lots of scammers out there, so be smart.
It is time to fight back. Go to protests. Support this lawsuit. Support the various groups that work for Sex Worker rights. (Support this blog if you can. I had to ask, please don’t be mad.) But support something. Join the fight.
Because it has begun. . .
EFF Lawsuit: Woodhull, et al. v U.S.
Woodhull Freedom Foundation website