AAF Government Report

September 23, 2011

Clark Rector Jr., Executive Vice President – Government Affairs

AAF Supports Free Commercial Speech

The American Advertising Federation has filed an amicus brief in an important First Amendment case before the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC. Joined by the Association of National Advertisers the brief is in support of a lawsuit filed by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Lorillard Tobacco Co. challenging new Food and Drug Administration regulations requiring graphic warning labels in advertising and on packaging.

While the particular case is about tobacco advertising and packaging, the implications for commercial speech of all products go much further. As stated in the brief:

The important issues in this case are not limited to tobacco products. Rather, they affect a wide range of products and services about which some may believe the government knows “best.” If the government can deputize tobacco companies through their product packaging and advertisements to deliver its message, there is no reason it could not do so for other things – and history shows it will not hesitate to do so.

A hearing on a preliminary injunction to stop the warning was held September 21. A decision is anticipated in early October.

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