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Decency Standards:
National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley

Appealed From: U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
Subjects: National Endowment for the Arts; First Amendment; Decency Standards; Due Process Clause; Fifth Amendment

Argued: March 31, 1998

Decided: June 25, 1998
Vote: 8-1

At Issue: Whether "decency" standards for federal funding of the arts violate the First Amendment.

Decision: By an 8-1 vote, the court said the National Endowment for the Arts can consider decency, as well as artistic merit, in deciding who gets public money without violating free-speech rights.

Read the full text of the National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley decision at the Findlaw Internet Legal Resources Web site.

Listen to the National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley oral argument in RealAudio at the Oyez Oyez Oyez Web site.

The court reversed a 1996 lower court decision, Finley v. National Endowment for the Arts, which is available at the U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit Web site. The case is also available on FindLaw.

Look at the pertinent arts and humanities education provision in the U.S. Code (20 U.S.C. 954 (d) (1)) at the U.S. House of Representatives Internet Law Library Web site.


Background from The Post
Arts Decency Standard Held Constitutional (June 26, 1998)
Groups Warn of "Chilling Effect" on Free Expression (June 26, 1998)
Court Hears Arguments On NEA 'Decency' Rules (Feb. 28, 1998)

Sources: The Washington Post, Supreme Court, The United States Law Week (a Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. publication)


© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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