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On Tuesday, a federal appeals court in Philadelphia struck down the Child Online Protection Act, which punishes those who post commercial material online that could be deemed harmful to minors. The ruling marks the sixth time since the law’s 1998 passage that courts have rejected it. Congress passed the law after an even broader earlier version was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in its 1997 Reno V. American Civil Liberties Union decision. Christopher Harris, a Latham & Watkins partner who specializes in securities litigation, has been fighting the law alongside the ACLU since 1998 — and he may not be done. Government lawyers may appeal the latest decision to the Supreme Court.


The American Lawyer: How did you first get involved in these types of cases?

Christopher Harris: I was a first-year associate when the ACLU asked a partner at our firm, Michael Hertz, to help in a case against a similar Internet content law [former New York Gov.] George Pataki had passed. Michael asked me to help him out. I’m still not sure why.

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