District Court says FDA mandate would violate First Amendment.
Consumers may yet be spared graphic images of diseased lungs and smokers with holes in their throats, after R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard, and other tobacco companies prevailed over the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia yesterday. Judge Richard Leon ruled that forcing cigarette manufacturers to offer their products only in gruesome packages was a violation of free speech, and therefore unconstitutional. The companies were granted a preliminary injunction, while the FDA regroups and lawyers rehuddle.
The judge wrote that “plaintiffs raise for the first time in our Circuit the question of whether the FDA's new and mandatory graphic images, when combined with certain textual warnings on cigarette packaging, are unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Upon review of the pleadings, the parties' supplemental pleadings, oral argument, the entire record, and the applicable law, the Court concludes that plaintiffs have demonstrated a substantial likelihood that they will prevail on the merits of their position that these mandatory graphic images unconstitutionally compel speech, and that they will suffer irreparable harm absent injunctive relief pending a judicial review of the constitutionality of the FDA's Rule.” (Complete ruling available here).
As Josh Gerstein reported at POLITICO, Leon “found that the new warnings, which occupy 50% of the front and back of cigarette packs, convert them into "mini-billboards...for [the FDA's] obvious anti-smoking agenda." Both Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg were also named in the lawsuit.
Judge Leon foresees a slippery constitutional slope if such mandates are allowed to bloom:
When one considers the logical extension of the Government's defense of its compelled graphic images to possible graphic labels that the Congress and the FDA might wish to someday impose on various food packages (i.e., fast food and snack food items) and alcoholic beverage containers (from beer cans to champagne bottles), it becomes clearer still that the public's interest in preserving its constitutional protections - and, indeed, the Government's concomitant interest in not violating the constitutional rights of its citizens - are best served by granting injunctive relief at this preliminary stage.
Graphics Credit: http://pubcit.typepad.com
Judge Rules Against Graphic Cigarette PacksBy Dirkh
You Might Also Like :
These articles might interest you :
Judge Mark FullerA request for admissions can be one of the most entertaining documents in a lawsuit. The requesting party, in so many words, is saying, "We... Read moreThe 18 May 2012 by Rogershuler
LEGAL, PETS, SOCIETY
Judge Mark FullerThe divorce complaint filed against U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller raises a number of troubling issues. But possible drug addiction might be... Read moreThe 21 May 2012 by Rogershuler
Burglars should expect to be shot at if they come round looking to rob, says Lord Judge. Read moreThe 28 September 2012 by Periscope
CURRENT, LEGAL, SOCIETY
Yesterday I posted the story about Lance Armstrong filing a legal suit against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in an attempt to block the organization's attempts... Read moreThe 10 July 2012 by Kungfujedi
OTHER SPORTS, OUTDOORS, SPORTS
By Susan Duclos A seriously bad week for the Obama administration in federal courts. Earlier a federal appeals court panel of three ruled Obama's recess... Read moreThe 25 January 2013 by Susanduclos
ECONOMICS, POLITICS, SOCIETY
Cross Posted from BloombergOntario’s subsidies for clean-energy producers that use local technology were ruled in breach of World Trade Organization regulations... Read moreThe 20 December 2012 by Earth First! Newswire
Image via Wikipedia Judge Dismisses Copyright Case Against 50 Cent | Music News | Rolling Stone. The Wild Heart thinks that someone was trying to milk this for... Read moreThe 26 September 2011 by Thewildheart
MOST POPULAR FROM HEALTH
- Here, have some treats. With love from me to you x by Tonicnutrition1
- Carrot & Raisin Vitamix Muffins by Tejal Hewitt
- Queen Maeve's Trail by Rubytuesday
- Video From the Paleo f(x) Conference by Dietdoctor
MOST RECOMMENDED IN HEALTH
- One Day Until Launch by Dietdoctor
- Lifting Heavy by Heathernichole
- Protein Powder Review – Trader Joe’s Whey Protein Powder by 43fitness
- UK BLOG AWARD !!! by Fitnessontoast