Court decision destabilizes First Amendment law, with negative consequences for consumers

At the New York Times, reporter Adam Liptak writes about the Supreme Court's June decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert and explains why what might have been an unremarkable First Amendment case may have significant consequences for a wide range of laws, including consumer protection laws.

The key move in Justice Thomas’s [majority] opinion was the vast expansion of what counts as content-based. The court used to say laws were content-based if they were adopted to suppress speech with which the government disagreed.

Justice Thomas took a different approach. Any law that singles out a topic for regulation, he said, discriminates based on content and is therefore presumptively unconstitutional.

Securities regulation is a topic. Drug labeling is a topic. Consumer protection is a topic.

The full article is here.

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