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Today in Legal History: Abolition, Ammunition & Cyberporn


On this day in 1862, in a harbinger of the Emancipation Proclamation issued nine months later, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia. For details, see this National Archives page and this Library of Congress page.

On this day in 1945, four days after President Franklin Roosevelt died, Congress extended one of his major wartime bills, the Lend-Lease Act, by another year. It paved the way for the U.S. to become “the great arsenal of democracy,” providing money and materials to American allies. For details, see this history.com page.

On this day in 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down several major provisions in the Child Pornography Prevention Act, saying that “virtual” child pornography wasn’t illegal child pornography, because no actual child was portrayed. For details, see this CBS News article and this Federal Communications Law Journal article (PDF) discussing Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition.

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