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All mediums of expression should be afforded the same level of First Amendment protection with respect to content-based restrictionsApril 23, 2014
Brief Amicus Curiae of Reason Foundation, Citizens United, Atlantic Legal Foundation, Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, Individual Rights Foundation, Northwest Legal Foundation, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Goldwater Institute, Center for Competitive Politics, Cause of Action, and Southeastern Legal Foundation
Minority Television, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission and United States of America
A law prohibiting a newspaper from printing an advertisement regarding local government candidates, a cable television operator from airing an advertisement regarding presidential candidates, or a website from displaying an advertisement regarding ballot initiatives can only stand if it is narrowly tailored to further a compelling government interest. This Court applies strict scrutiny review to laws that suppress, disadvantage, or impose differential burdens upon speech because of its content.”
Recognizing the grave threats of censorship that content-based restrictions impose on the free trade of ideas, this Court requires that such restrictions pass the most exacting scrutiny – that is, unless the law censors broadcasters. Forty-five years ago, in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, 395 U.S. 367 (1969), reasons of technological scarcity led the Court to afford governmental restraints on broadcast a higher level of deference than restrictions on other mediums of expression. Thus, if the aforementioned examples prohibited broadcasters, rather than newspapers, cable television operators or website providers, from airing advertisements based on their content, such laws need only be narrowly tailored to further a substantial government interest to withstand constitutional challenge. Application of this lower level of scrutiny to laws that prohibit or limit expression in broadcast radio or television based on content forecloses an entire medium of expression, and in doing so, conflicts with this Court’s traditional First Amendment jurisprudence.
Nowhere is this conflict more dangerous than when the content-based restriction prohibits public discourse including, but not limited to, speech regarding political candidates and matters of public interest, because “public discussion is a political duty.” Despite Red Lion, under recent precedent, the greater deference afforded to broadcast content-based regulations does not apply when political or public issue speech is at issue.
These conflicting precedents leave lower courts and litigants struggling to ascertain the level of scrutiny applicable to content-based restrictions that prohibit or limit political or public issue speech on the broadcasting medium – strict scrutiny as required under a content-based or political speech approach, or intermediate scrutiny as applied under a medium of expression approach? By granting certiorari, this Court has an opportunity to reconsider Red Lion and its progeny and ensure that all mediums of expression are afforded the same level of First Amendment protection with respect to content-based restrictions, especially those that limit political or public issue speech. The nature of the speech at issue in this case – political and public issue speech – makes this Court’s review all the more urgent.
Washington State and New Jersey Legislatures Consider Massive Taxes on E-Cigarettes That Would Perpetuate Smoking
Punitive taxes would discourage smokers from switching to a safer alternative, harming public healthMarch 11, 2014
Washington State and New Jersey are currently considering budget proposals that would impose additional taxes on e-cigarettes. These taxes would discourage smokers from switching, thereby ensuring that many more people continue to smoke cigarettes, which are far more harmful.
The European Union's new e-cigarette rules will reduce competition, slow innovation and prevent smokers from switching to safer, vaporized nicotine.
Not only does the Los Angeles City Council's move to ban e-cigarettes run counter to public opinion, it would also set back public health by implicitly discouraging smokers from seeking safer alternatives.
Ban would set back public health by discouraging smokers from seeking safer alternativesFebruary 21, 2014
On Monday, a Los Angeles City Council committee is set to consider an ordinance that would ban the use of electronic cigarettes anywhere that traditional cigarettes are prohibited under the city’s smoke-free air laws. The City Council already unanimously passed a law subjecting e-cigarette sales to the same regulations and restrictions as tobacco products — even though e-cigarettes don’t contain any tobacco. Not only does latest move to ban e-cigarettes run counter to public opinion, it would also set back public health by implicitly discouraging smokers from seeking safer alternatives.
View Resources by Type
- The Effect of Cigarette Tax Rates on Illicit Trade: Lessons Learned in Canada
Katie Furtick, Candice Malcolm and Anthony Randazzo
January 9, 2014
- An Argument for Equal Marriage
Marriage laws should allow people to shape their lives as they wish
March 25, 2013
- Internet Gambling: The Keys to a Successful Regulatory Climate
How the government can embrace and regulate online gambling
November 13, 2012
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What costs does alcohol impose on California's taxpayers?
Policy Brief 78
May 12, 2009
- Analysis of California's Propositions 8: Limits on Marriage
Policy Brief 76
October 1, 2008
- A Bad Idea Gone Too Far
Proposition 86, The Tobacco Tax
Geoffrey Segal and Skaidra Smith-Heisters
October 1, 2006
- No Booze? You May Lose
Why Drinkers Earn More Money Than Nondrinkers
Bethany L. Peters and Edward Stringham
September 1, 2006
- Minority Television Project, Inc. v. Federal Communication Commission and United States of America (4/23)
- Proposed WA & NJ E-Cigarette Taxes Would Perpetuate Smoking (3/12)
- Washington State and New Jersey Legislatures Consider Massive Taxes on E-Cigarettes That Would Perpetuate Smoking (3/11)
- New European Union Rules Will Hold Back Tobacco Harm Reduction (2/27)
- Proposed L.A. E-Cigarette Ban Would Perpetuate Smoking, Not Discourage It (2/21)
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