It was April 20 when the Court, in United States v. Stevens, struck down an earlier federal law that banned a more broadly defined category of depictions of animal cruelty. The Court found that law to be “substantially overbroad” and therefore unconstitutional under the First Amendment, because it could apply to hunting and fishing videos and other legitimate depictions.

The new law, passed with bipartisan support after hearings in recent months, focuses more narrowly on “obscene” animal crush videos in which animals are crushed or burned or otherwise mutilated. The definition ties the offense to obscenity — which is not protected by the First Amendment — by noting that the videos appeal to a particular sexual fetish.

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