A federal judge for the District Court in Little Rock, Arkansas ruled this week that a 1981 State law banning political robocalls is unconstitutional. The ruling comes less than a year after a federal court overturned a similar state law ban in South Carolina.
Why did the Court find the robocall ban unconstitutional?
The robocall ban in Arkansas was struck down because it does not going far enough with respect to restricting automated calls to consumers. Instead of banning all autodialed calls, without regard to their content, the law ran afoul of the Constitution by specifying that only certain kinds of calls were banned, such as political robocalls, while allowing others, such as those placed by charities. The Judge ultimately ruled that the privacy interests of consumers (in being protected from unwanted, intrusive speech in their homes) was not compelling enough to justify singling out the forms of speech otherwise restricted by the ban. Accordingly, the entire law was deemed constitutionally invalid.
Protect Your Business From Robocall-Related Liability
We have blogged extensively about increased regulatory and judicial interest in the practice of autodialing, as well as telemarketing in general. Given recent rulings, we are approaching a scenario whereby states turn to blanket bans on the use of autodialers, in order to pass constitutional muster. Nevertheless, in today’s regulatory environment, it is imperative to have telemarketing practices and procedures examined by experienced counsel prior to embarking on any telemarketing campaign.