Supreme Court Supports Federal Ban on Robocalls

Supreme court

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld [PDF] a federal ban on robocalls and in the process eliminated an exception that was made for government debt collectors.

Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants, 19-631

In 1991 Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to stop all robocalls sent to mobile phones and landlines. Then in 2015, an amendment was added to make an exception for robocalls made to collect federal government debts.

Political groups like the American Association of Political Consultants claimed the robocall ban violated the First Amendment, saying it favored debt-collection free speech over political speech. These groups had hoped to send mobile phone users political robocalls.

Writing the opinion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh said the court could overturn the exception for debt collection instead of throwing out the entire ban.

Plaintiffs believe that their political outreach would be more effective and efficient if they could make robocalls to cell phones. But because plaintiffs are not in the business of collecting government debt, [the TCPA] prohibits them from making those robocalls.

The case is Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants, 19-631.

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