Commercial Speech in the United States 1976–2002

Roger A. Shiner

in Freedom of Commercial Expression

Published in print November 2003 | ISBN: 9780198262619
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682353 | DOI:
Commercial Speech in the United States 1976–2002

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The United States Supreme Court was not slow to apply the new doctrine of constitutional protection for commercial speech, albeit in somewhat of a tentative manner. Linmark concerned a township's ordinance prohibiting the posting of ‘For Sale’ or ‘Sold’ signs on real estate. The township's motive was the laudable one of promoting racially integrated housing by slowing panic selling by whites. A real estate agent and property owner sought to have the ordinance overturned on First Amendment grounds as an unjustifiable restriction on commercial speech. Despite its sympathy for the township's aims, the Court agreed with the petitioners. The Court's later mindless commitment to the ‘free flow of commercial information’ marks a lack of sophistication. The Court also itself added a fifth ground for possible legitimate restriction of lawyer advertising, that restraints on in-person solicitation by attorneys might be justifiable. This chapter looks at commercial speech cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Keywords: Supreme Court; lawyer advertising; United States; commercial speech; constitutional protection; First Amendment; commercial information; advertising

Chapter.  9480 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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