chapter  10
Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, et al.
Pages 59

This, of course, was a challenge to a federal statute. And the ACLU, although known primarily for litigationwhich is primarily what we do-also has a lobbying arm in Washington. So we are always on the lookout, of course, and constantly lobbying against various con­ gressional bills tha t might re s tr ic t free speech. The Communications Decency Act was no different. The bill was passed in '95. So I spent the firs t several months at the ACLU lobbying against the bill, actually-doing various on-line kind of activism to encourage people to oppose the bill. This was so rt of the very f irs t wave of Net activism-you know, political activism. And then when it became clear th a t i t was going to pass in some form or another, we all got together and we said, ’’Shouldn't we s ta r t to put together a lawsuit?” And unlike other lawyers, public in terest lawyers are not constrained from soliciting clients di­ rectly. I t ’s something tha t we routinely do. It tends to be so rt of a two-way thing. A t the same time tha t we are looking out for people who might want to be

represented, people are also contacting us because, of course, they know the ACLU. And tha t was the case with the CDA.