On July 6, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision in Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants Inc., a case involving a dispute over 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.
By a vote of 6-3, in an opinion by Justice Kavanaugh, the Court affirmed the case, holding that The exception for calls to collect government debt from a federal ban on robocalls to cellphones violates the First Amendment, but the exception is severable from the rest of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991.
Justice Thomas joined the court’s opinion as to parts I and II. Justice Sotomayor filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. Justice Breyer filed an opinion concurring in the judgment with respect to severability and dissenting in part, in which Justices Ginsburg and Kagan joined. Justice Gorsuch filed an opinion concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part, in which Justice Thomas joined as to part II.
To discuss the case, we have Michael R. Dimino, Professor of Law at Widener University School of Law.
As always, the Federalist Society takes no particular legal or public policy positions. All opinions expressed are those of the speakers.