Craigslist Sues SC Attorney General Over Sex-Ad Threat


Craigslist asked a federal judge to stop South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster from threatening to prosecute executives of the popular Internet classified ad site on prostitution or obscenity charges, reports The State in Columbia, S.C. McMaster, a probable Republican gubernatorial candidate next year, described the suit as “good news,” saying, “It shows that Craigslist is taking the matter seriously for the first time.”

University of South Carolina law professor Ann Bartow predicted McMaster likely would lose the lawsuit if it goes to trial. “He's going to get his head handed to him on a platter, based upon pre-existing case law,” she said, adding McMaster lost a federal Internet censorship case in 2005. Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor who follows the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes South Carolina, said the suit could be a strategy by Craigslist to “work out a reasonable settlement” with McMaster. He noted a 1997 ruling by the 4th Circuit in a Virginia Internet case – which Craigslist cited as a “seminal decision” supporting its position – “came down on the side of the First Amendment.”

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