Tag: First Amendment

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COVID-19: Emergency Regulations Do Not Pass Constitutional Muster
2
District Court Set to Rule on Cross Motions for Summary Judgment in First Amendment Challenge to TCPA
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Federal Government Not Successful in Moving to Dismiss First Amendment Challenge to TCPA
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As Campaign Draws to a Close, Trump’s First Amendment Challenge to the TCPA Continues On

COVID-19: Emergency Regulations Do Not Pass Constitutional Muster

Federal Judge Enjoins Enforcement of Massachusetts Attorney General’s Debt Collection Ban Under First Amendment

By Sean R. HigginsJohn ReVeal, and Hollee M. Boudreau

In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (“AGO”) issued a set of emergency regulations [1] intended to broadly prohibit certain debt collection activities in Massachusetts, including prohibitions against initiating debt collection calls or lawsuits, during the pendency of the COVID-19 emergency. [2] On May 6, 2020, U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns enjoined the AGO’s enforcement of those regulations as an unconstitutional restraint on commercial free speech. The court found that the AGO’s broad prohibitions violated the constitutional rights of creditors and debt collectors in Massachusetts without providing any meaningful protections to consumers greater than those afforded by existing state and federal consumer protection laws. [3] Read More

District Court Set to Rule on Cross Motions for Summary Judgment in First Amendment Challenge to TCPA

By Andrew C. Glass, Gregory N. Blase, Christopher J. Valente, Michael R. Creta, and Natasha C. Pereira

Last week, a bi-partisan coalition of political groups and the federal government completed briefing cross motions for summary judgment in American Association of Political Consultants, Inc., et al. v. Sessions, Case No. 5:16-cv-00252-D (E.D.N.C.). The case challenges the constitutionality of a portion of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). The plaintiffs contend that the TCPA’s prohibition on making auto-dialed calls or texts to cell phones without the requisite consent, 47 U.S.C. § 227(b)(1)(A)(iii) (the “cell phone ban”), imposes a content-based restriction on speech that fails to pass strict scrutiny and is unconstitutionally under-inclusive (the plaintiffs’ complaint is discussed here). The government is defending the statute’s constitutionality (previously discussed here).

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Federal Government Not Successful in Moving to Dismiss First Amendment Challenge to TCPA

By Andrew C. Glass, Gregory N. Blase, Christopher J. Valente, and Michael R. Creta

A North Carolina federal district court recently denied a motion by the federal government to dismiss claims raising a First Amendment challenge to a portion of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). See American Ass’n of Political Consultants v. Lynch, Case No. 5:16-00252-D (E.D.N.C.). At this early stage of the case, the government did not address the substance of the constitutional challenge. Rather, the government asserted that the court did not have jurisdiction over the case and that the political organizations which filed the suit did not have standing to maintain suit. The court, however, rejected the government’s arguments and allowed the case to proceed.

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As Campaign Draws to a Close, Trump’s First Amendment Challenge to the TCPA Continues On

By Andrew C. Glass, Gregory N. Blase, Christopher J. Valente, and Michael R. Creta

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign recently moved to dismiss a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) claim on First Amendment grounds. Thorne v. Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., 1:16-cv-04603 (N.D. Ill.). The class-action complaint alleged that the campaign violated the TCPA by sending text messages without permission. In response, the campaign argued that the TCPA’s prohibition on the use of automatic telephone dialing systems (“ATDS”) for calls or text messages placed to cellular telephones, 47 U.S. Code § 227(b)(1)(A)(iii) (the “cell phone ban”), improperly regulates speech on the basis of content. Specifically, the campaign asserted that the ban cannot withstand strict scrutiny because it does not “further[] a compelling interest” and is not “narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.” Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, 564 U.S. 721, 734 (2011).

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