From the Newsletter: The Blue Lagoon

On the other hand, private possession of material that is obscene (but not CP) is lawful in the USA, per Stanley v Georgia . That’s a loophole of a sort, although it’s odd to describe the Constitution as a loophole.

Ok, but the ‘obscene’ material just didn’t materialize outta thin air… somene had to create it, transport it, etc. Wouldn’t those attract criminal penalties on their own?

Usually yes, but I was thinking of the example of someone who bought the material in the 70s and kept it around.

Fair enough. Times change. I’m old enough to have seen with my own eyes magazines on open display for sale at a newsstand, that would today would attract serious criminal charges (i.e. child pornography).
Apparently, these were legal for sale at the time.

But what’s the point of Stanley v. Georgia if you can’t receive obscene materials in your home? If you use the internet to receive something, yes, there is federal jurisdiction, but you are privately receiving the material at home. Criminalizing receipt would make sense only if prosecutorial discretion led to charges for people using the internet to receive obscenity outside home (looking for obscenity on your phone while shopping at Walmart). Otherwise, Stanley v. Georgia is kind of useless.