DO NOT CALL, OFF AGAIN
MSNBC reports another step in this saga:
The furious last-minute jockeying to stop unsolicited telemarketing continued Thursday, as both the House and Senate quickly passed legislation designed to allow a national Do Not Call Registry to take effect Oct. 1. But for the second time in three days, a federal judge issued an order blocking implementation of the list. The latest court ruling sides with telemarketers’ claims of First Amendment protection.
NOW, THE OCT. 1 Do Not Call Registry launch date is now in serious jeopardy, according to a legal expert.
“This one Congress can’t fix with legislation. It will eventually make its way to the Supreme Court,” said Clayton Friedman, a lawyer who is advising telemarketing firms working at do-not-call list compliance. “And I can’t imagine how they can hear it before Oct. 1.”
Do-not-call supporters have this hope: An appeals could side with the Federal Trade Commission before next Wednesday, when the list is to be implemented. Either way, the case is certainly headed for the Supreme Court, Friedman said.
It sure looks that way. While I gladly defended the previous judge–the FCC didn’t have the authority to do this on its own–this one needs to be horsewhipped. We have several decades of case law on commercial speech; its protections are comparatively minor. The only reasonable argument I could come up with would be equal protection–certain types of unsolicited calls are permissible under this regulation/law–but that’s not going to fly either, given recent court rulings which, for example, allow discrimination against abortion protestors that aren’t applied to other groups.