Hugh Hefner's death last September left many pondering the legacy of the sexual revolution. What type of society had the Playboy-fueled project of sexual liberation created? The hurricane of sexual assault allegations that arose the following month--broadly characterized as the #MeToo movement--provided a dismal answer to that question. Tired of the harassment and misconduct of sexually entitled men, it seems women from Hollywood to Houston have finally had enough.
In the midst of this reassessment of sexual mores, the ubiquity of pornography and the objectifying habits of the mind that it creates cannot be ignored. Several state legislatures--including those in Florida, Kansas, Idaho, and Utah--have labeled unrestricted access to internet pornography a "public health crisis." The call to ban pornography altogether even resounded across the pages of the New York Times. (1)
The Articles selected for this Issue of the Journal charge headlong into this timely and long-overdue conversation. Professor Gerard V. Bradley surveys our pornified culture and calls for the establishment of a new federal commission to evaluate the effects of unrestricted pornography on our cultural well-being. Dr. David L. Tubbs and Jacqueline Smith explain why the Supreme Court's unstable obscenity jurisprudence undermines the rule of law, and debunk the constitutional mythology favoring pornographers. Finally, Professor Mary G. Leary reviews how courts distorted the Communications Decency Act so as to grant immunity to websites that advertise sex-trafficking victims. She also discusses the value and limitations of Congress's recently enacted FOSTA-SESTA legislation.
We are also privileged to present an important policy Essay on the matter of human trafficking that complements the themes raised in Professor Leary's Article. Assistant Attorney General Beth A. Williams outlines the Department of Justice's approach to combatting human trafficking, and identifies some the Department's most successful efforts.
Two special features in this Issue provide welcome respite from the difficult...