at 46–47, 49. Miller • Amid oral arguments in Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants, an unexpected sound projected clearly across the court's live audio stream: Someone flushed a toilet. American Association of Political Consultants, Inc. Brief of Amici Curiae State of Indiana et al. at 30. In 1991, Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) which, in part, bans calls to cellphones made by automated telephone machines or artificial or prerecorded voices. Harlan I • Strict scrutiny is the highest standard of review which a court will use to evaluate the constitutionality of governmental discrimination. Thus, the Government concludes, because of weighty countervailing public fiscal interests in government debt-collection calls, Congress could permissibly prioritize fiscal interests over privacy interests in this context. The following timeline details key events in this case: 1. As to that question, I agree with Justice Kavanaugh's conclusion that the provision is severable. at 17–18. On the other hand, AAPC continues, if the asserted privacy interest is read more narrowly as extending only to nuisance telemarketing calls, the cellphone-call ban is overbroad because it extends to calls made by devices that even potentially could function as auto-dialers, including smartphones. Id. Since its enactment in 1991, courts have consistently held that the TCPA’s autodialer rules are constitutional. Justice Neil Gorsuch filed an opinion concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part, in which Justice Clarence Thomas joined as to Part II. The Student Loan Servicing Alliance (“SLSA”), in support of Barr, argues that invalidating the TCPA’s government-debt exception would undercut the government’s ability to collect debts. Brief of Amicus Curiae Chamber of Commerce, in Support of Respondent at 16–17. A party petitioning an appellate court to consider its case. the district court's grant of summary judgmentRefers to a judgment granted on a claim about which there is no genuine issue of fact and to which the party moving for judgment prevails as a matter of law. Cushing • ", that the permitted automated calls were unconstitutionally favored, and that the free speech aspect of the debt-collection exemption was not severable from the automated call ban which would make the entire ban unconstitutional. In my view, the TCPA’s rule against cellphone robocalls is a content-based restriction that fails strict scrutiny. See Brief of Amicus Curiae the Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC, in Support of Respondent at 17. Rehnquist • Argued May 6, 2020—Decided July 6, 2020 . at 18. Powell • Volunteer Spotlight; Resources. Ibid. Brown • Clark • For more on the opinion, click here. Operations: Meghann Olshefski • Lauren Dixon • Kelly Rindfleisch • Sara Antel • Sara Horton. Cf. Breyer • at 34. On July 6, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants, No. Id. Id. Id. Strict scrutiny is the highest standard of review which a court will use to evaluate the constitutionality of governmental discrimination. at 25. Hughes • at 21–22. Ass’n of Political Consultants v. Barr at 4. v. AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF POLITICAL CONSULTANTS, INC., ET AL. at 11. According to Politico, the government petitioners, U.S. Attorney General William Barr and the Federal Communications Commission, “argued that the court erred in throwing out the debt collector exception but would ask for severability even if its argument is turned aside.” Rutledge • This case primarily involves commercial regulation–namely, debt collection. Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants. As further indication that the restriction is content based, AAPC cites an FCC order indicating that if a call includes advertising- or sales-related content, this content transforms an otherwise permissible call into an impermissible one. Brief for Respondents, American Association of Political Consultants, Inc., et al. the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, holding that the 2015 government debt exception to the 1991 federal ban on robocalls to cell phones added an unconstitutional exception to the law and that the exception is severable from the remainder of the statute. J. Lamar • Davis • And going this far, but no further, would avoid “short circuit[ing]the democratic process” by interfering with the work of Congress any more than necessary. Facebook explains that under this reading of the TCPA, any device that can autodial can be considered a prohibited “ATDS” making “virtually every number called on such a smartphone a potential TCPA violation punishable by statutory penalties.” Id. Id. Id. at 20. Curtis • (collectively, “AAPC”) maintain that the government improperly focuses on the government-debt exception rather than the cellphone-call restriction. Respondents (plaintiffs-appellants below) are the American Association of Political Consultants, Inc.; the Democratic Party of Oregon, Inc.; Public Policy Polling, LLC; and the Washington State Democratic Central Committee. (collectively, “AAPC”) respond that the ban and the exception are content-based because they restrict permitted call topics and that neither the ban nor the exception survive either strict or intermediate scrutiny because there is no privacy interest to which the cellphone-call ban and the government-debt exception are closely tailored. Barrett • Nor am I able to support the remedy the Court endorses today. We have typically called this approach “intermediate scrutiny,” though we have sometimes referred to it as an assessment of "fit," sometimes called it "proportionality," and sometimes just applied it without using a label. Moreover, MCM adds that this expansive litigation will harm businesses who offer text-messaging and social networking services. violated the free speech clause of the First Amendment. at 7. In the end, I agree that 47 U. S. C. §227(b)(1)(A)(iii) violates the First Amendment, though not for the reasons Justice Kavanaugh offers. at 26–27. Ellsworth • The plaintiffs alleged that the debt-collection exemption constitutes a content-based restriction on speech, thus violating their right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. Id. Th… Id. Oral argument in. In 1991, Congress enacted the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) aimed at protecting Americans from unsolicited, intrusive phone calls. Moreover, AAPC argues, a court would implicate separation-of-powers concerns by striking down the exception but leaving the ban in place, because the court would be prohibiting speech that Congress preferred to preserve. For instance, MCM points to TCPA lawsuits against companies such as GroupMe, Twitter, Google, and Lyft. It explains that such calls help borrowers understand loan repayment options and ensures due process by giving them every “opportunity to repay debt in accordance with their financial ability to pay.” Id. Holmes • the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in a 6-3 opinion, holding that the 2015 government-debt exception to the 1991 federal ban on robocalls to cell phones added an unconstitutional exception to the law and that the exception is severable from the remainder of the statute. McKenna • liam P. Barr, in his official capacity as the Attorney General of the United States; and the Federal Commu- nications Commission. Furthermore, the State of Indiana points out that when Congress enacted the TCPA, it deemed automated calls “pervasive” and an “intrusive invasion of privacy.” Brief of Amici Curiae State of Indiana et al., in Support of Petitioner at 10. Id. (2) The exception is based on “content.” Ante, at 7. Whittaker • It notes that in 2018, TCPA settlements totaled approximately $171 million and in 2016, litigants filed over 5,000 TCPA lawsuits. Brief of EPIC at 15. Whether the government-debt exception to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991’s automated-call restriction violates the First Amendment, and whether the proper remedy for any constitutional violation is to sever the exception from the remainder of the statute. Cf. Cf. But the harm, as I have explained, is related not to public efforts to develop ideas or transmit them to the Government, but to the Government's response to those efforts, which here takes the form of highly regulated commercial communications. [4], Justice Stephen Breyer filed an opinion concurring in the judgment with respect to severability and dissenting in part, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan.[4]. Educational seminar: Preview of Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants (Katie Bart) Argument preview: Justices take on First Amendment challenge to robocall law (Amanda Shanor) Court sets cases for May telephone arguments, will make live audio available (Amy Howe) Court releases April calendar (Amy Howe) Justices grant three new cases (Amy Howe) Petitions of the … AAPC replies that because the overarching cellphone-call restriction is content-based, the restriction must satisfy strict scrutiny. White • Id. Id. On appeal, the plaintiffs further argued that the unconstitutional debt-collection exemption is not severable from the automated-call ban, and as such the automated-call ban as a whole is unconstitutional and should be struck down entirely. §227(b)(1)(A)(iii). 19-631, holding that the Telephone Consumer… American Association of Political Consultants Inc. Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants Inc. Update: 2020-05-06. To return a case or claim to a lower court for additional proceedings. Id. November 14, 2019: United States Attorney General William Barr and the Federal Communications Commissionfiled a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court. : This article has not yet received a rating on the quality scale. ... A severance remedy not only fails to help the plaintiffs, it harms strangers to this suit. Hunt • The law at the center of the case, Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants, is the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a landmark piece of … A majority of the Court holds that the exception violates the Constitution's First Amendment. Preventing the law's enforcement against the plaintiffs would fully address their injury. Instead, MCM contends that other provisions of the TCPA can prevent intrusive calls. The Chamber of Commerce (the “Chamber”), in support of AAPC, counters that the TCPA causes extensive litigation and imposes unnecessary costs on the courts and businesses. AAPC further stipulates that even if intermediate scrutiny applied, the cellphone-call restriction still fails. ... With a First Amendment violation proven, the question turns to remedy. The Chamber asserts that businesses will be forced to settle such lawsuits due to the massive number of claimants and the potential for millions of dollars in losses. at 24–25. Cardozo • Instead, the Government contends, the exception focuses on the economic activity the caller engages in rather than the content of calls. at 12, 16, 17. Whether the government-debt exception to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991’s automated call restriction violates the. This case concerns the constitutionality of an exemption to the autodialer ban in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). The plaintiffs alleged that the exemption violated their right to free speech on the basis that the ban was content-based and did not satisfy strict scrutiny review"Strict scrutiny is a form of judicial review that courts use to determine the constitutionality of certain laws. In her concurring opinion, Sotomayor wrote: Nevertheless, I agree that the offending provision is severable. FIRST AMENDMENT; FREE SPEECH; INTERMEDIATE SCRUTINY; SEVERABILITY; FCC, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, American Association of Political Consultants, Inc, United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch, District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Paterson • Specifically, the SLSA notes that the Department of Education was the largest creditor agency with, in 2019, approximately 7 million individuals defaulting on their federally-managed student loans, the total value of which reached $161.3 billion. And, in my view, there is no basis here to apply "strict scrutiny" based on "content discrimination". Chase • Iredell • While the Constitution requires at least some scrutiny of Congress’s restrictions on speech, the Government explains, courts treat content-neutral regulations more deferentially than content-based restrictions. Id. In my view, it does not. Id. Blackmun • Taft • Brief for Petitioner at 33–34. Id. American Association of Political Consultants, the court decided that the 2015 exception violates the First Amendment’s speech clause. A federal statute forbids, with some exceptions, making automatically dialed or prerecorded telephone calls (called robocalls) to cell phones. The U.S. Attorney General William Barr and the FCC petitioned to the Supreme Court, which granted certiorari on January 10, 2020. Because the challenged robocall ban unconstitutionally infringes on their speech, I would hold that the plaintiffs are entitled to an injunction preventing its enforcement against them. Facebook, Inc. agrees, adding that under certain interpretations of the TCPA, consumers could be liable for ordinary iPhone text messages and phone calls. Woods, Communications: Kristen Vonasek • Kayla Harris • Megan Brown • Mary Dunne • Sarah Groat • Heidi Jung American Association of Political Consultants, scheduled for May 6 at 11:00 a.m. In 2005, Congress amended the TCPA by adding a third exemption to the cellphone-call ban: the ban would not apply to calls to cell phones that are generated for the purpose of collecting debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States federal government (“government-debt exception”). Brewer • at 23. at 11. Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants Inc. was a case argued before the Supreme Court of the United States on May 6, 2020, during the court's October 2019-2020 term. disputes, lawsuits, and recounts, Six Members of the Court today conclude that Congress has impermissibly favored debt-collection speech over political and other speech, in violation of the First Amendment. Ward v. 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