The Legal Pulse first addressed this issue a few weeks ago, and a federal judge has at least temporarily protected the First Amendment rights of businesses from compelled speech.
The federal judge, William Alsup, told the city that it must revise its “fact sheet” on cell phones because the city’s opinion is not rooted in science and is thus misleading because it implies that cell phones are not regulated (they are) and are dangerous (they aren’t, according to a 15 year study done, as the CNN article points out).
But key for business in general is that the judge struck down the requirement for posters to be placed in the retail store and to affix warning stickers. These requirements were found to be impermissible, unconstitutional compelled speech by the government. “There is no reasonable cause for requiring retailers to convert their walls to billboards for the municipal message,” wrote Judge Alsup.
The city ordinance is on hold until the end of the month, giving the city time to either appeal or amend the “fact sheet” handout. If they don’t change it, the entire ordinance will be found invalid, the judge said.
Chalk up a victory for the First Amendment and the free market this week. Let’s hope it lasts.