ANA Backs Carriers & CTIA in Legal Challenge to Berkeley’s Warning Law

Another group has joined the fight against the constitutionality of Berkeley, California’s law that mandates wireless retailers post radiation warnings regarding cell phone use. The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) recently filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing on behalf of the CTIA, who sought an injunction against the law in 2016, reports Media Post.

The CTIA’s lawsuit is grounded in a First Amendment claim that the law violates free speech principles, and the ANA echoed that contention as it wrote in its brief, “there is almost no limit to the messages public officials at all levels of government compel” should the measure stand.  

A trial judge rejected the CTIA’s claim, a decision which was later upheld by a divided panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The CTIA is now seeking a new hearing in front of at least 11 of the 9th Circuit’s 29 judges, a request backed by the ANA, according to Media Post. “The government may not require private parties to vilify their own products, and certainly cannot require misleading statements about them,” the ANA wrote in its brief submitted last week to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Berkeley contends the law mirrors a similar warning that the FCC mandates cell phone makers to issue regarding their products. That position has so far been reaffirmed by the courts, as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in its opinion that “compelled disclosure of commercial speech complies with the First Amendment” provided the information is factual and related to a “substantial government interest.”

May 17, 2017      

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