NYT reports,

A U.S. court in Oklahoma has blocked the national “do not call” list that would allow consumers to stop most unwanted telephone sales calls, the Direct Marketing Association said on Wednesday.

The U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City said the Federal Trade Commission overstepped its authority when it set up the popular anti-telemarketing measure, according to the DMA.

Interesting. And maybe right, too. But this is easy enough to fix: Congress could simply pass the measure, have the president sign it, and allow the use of the existing list. All of which could happen in a matter of days given the popularity of this particular program.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Blogeline says:

    It seems as the Oct. 1st comes closer more and more is being reported (again) on the do-not-call list.
    Just yesterday I saw a report on TV about companies trying to get you in any kind of business relationship to whhere they can continue to call you.
    I received one of those calls yesterday from some company giving me 4 FREE weekends in a resort (?) in Old Towne Alexandria, VA. What a bargain.

  2. 42nd SSD says:

    I’m pretty confident it’ll be implemented–eventually… but I think the decision was a bit goofy. 50 million people saying “yes, I want this” isn’t sufficient authorization? (I had this crazy idea that the government and the law exist to serve the needs of the citizens, not the reverse. I’m clearly confused.)

    Even though it’s probably a shoein, we should contact our local Congresscritters anyway given that the telemarketers are lobbying as much as they can against it. And I’m still amused they want to block it given their “we don’t want to annoy people” stance. (Are they fibbing, perhaps? Naaaah, not possible. They’re telemarketers, after all. Honesty is their watchword.)

    I’m really surprised it’s taken as long as it has, given the amount of money being scammed from people on a daily basis.

  3. James Joyner says:


    I think this is mainly a technical matter–does the FCC have the authority to issue this regulation absent legislation? I honestly don’t know, but it does seem a bit of a stretch. But, since this order isn’t based on 1st Amendment or other constitutional issues, it’s simple enough to bypass.

  4. Wow, a federal agency doing something not authorized by statutory law. I’m shocked, simply shocked that such a thing might go on.

    (The other question of course is whether FCC also has the budgetary authority to operate the program. $20 says there’s no “Do Not Call” line item in their FY04 appropriations bill…)

  5. BigFire says:

    re: Chris
    Actually, FCC was specificially authorized and mandated by Congress to do this.

  6. James Joyner says:

    BigFire. Interesting. Details? The courts usually don’t rule that agencies lack power if it’s given explicitly.

  7. DANEgerus says:

    Could Dave Barry give out their phone number so we can all call that judge… hopefully at his dinnertime.

  8. James Joyner says:


    Indeed! Although, again, the judge may be absolutely right as to the law. The decision is a technical one rather than one of a judge trying to impose his will on the electorate. My guess is that the judge hates telemarketers just like the rest of us.