Judge rules Texas's age-verification law violates First Amendment, in win for Pornhub

A Texas law requiring adult websites to verify users' age and compelling them to post anti-porn warnings is "unconstitutional on tis face," a federal judge ruled Thursday, handing a legal win to Pornhub and other sites targeted by the legislation.

"The statute is not narrowly tailored and chills the speech of Plaintiffs and adults who wish to access sexual materials," [Senior U.S. District Judge David A.] Ezra said in the decision. "[T]he law is not narrowly tailored because it substantially regulates protected speech, is severely underinclusive, and uses overly restrictive enforcement methods."

The judge concluded, "The Court agrees that the state has a legitimate goal in protecting children from sexually explicit material online. But that goal, however crucial, does not negate this Court's burden to ensure that the laws passed in its pursuit comport with established First Amendment doctrine. There are viable and constitutional means to achieve Texas's goal, and nothing in this order prevents the state from pursuing those means."

Tl;dr the "think of the children" angle was the barest veil over standard-issue state censorship, with compelled speech on top for good measure, and the court was not remotely fooled.