News In Brief
Administration Reverses Child-Pornography Policy: In a reversal of its position, the Clinton Administration declared this month that a child-pornography law applies to the lewd depiction of children and teenagers even if they are not nude.
In a brief filed on Nov. 10 by Attorney General Janet Reno, the Administration changed its position in Knox v. United States, in which Stephen A. Knox has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse his lower-court conviction under the child-pornography law.
The Bush Administration had argued that videotapes possessed by Mr. Knox could be considered pornographic even if the young girls shown in them have their genital areas covered. But the Clinton Administration's Solicitor General, Drew S. Days III, said the law required the "visible depiction of the genitals [and] a child lasciviously engaging in sexual conduct."
In reversing that interpretation, Ms. Reno said, "The statutory text contains no nudity requirement, and the legislative history confirms that Congress rejected such an express nudity test."
Some observers have suggested that the reversal resulted from the drubbing Democrats took at the polls earlier this month.
Riley Returns: Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley last week returned to work for the first time since undergoing surgery in October.
Doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore removed Mr. Riley's cancerous prostate on Oct. 18. He has been recuperating at his home in Washington.
A news release said the Secretary's "recovery is nearly complete and he expects to return to a full schedule shortly."
Goals 2000 Update: A total of 39 states and territories have received planning grants under the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, and applications from another four states are pending at the Education Department.
The grants allow states to develop plans for statewide school improvement, and are to be followed up with additional funds to implement the plans. Participating states are required to establish challenging content and performance standards.
The 11 states yet to apply are Wyoming, Nebraska, South Carolina, Mississippi, Iowa, Indiana, South Dakota, Ohio, Virginia, Georgia, and New Hampshire.