Judge Rules Montana Can’t Ban Political Robo-Calls Based on Content Alone
Written by jordanmckamey on September 11, 2019
A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Montana can’t ban political robocalls based on their content alone, marking the latest in a string of court decisions against U.S. states that attempt to restrict automated phone calls promoting political campaigns.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Montana’s law prohibiting political robocalls — recorded phone messages that advocate for a candidate or seek information for a political campaign — is a violation of the First Amendment’s free-speech protections.
The court has previously upheld other state laws that regulate robocalls, such as those that aim to protect consumers from scams, but those laws were based on how robocalls are made and not on what they say, the judges said.
District courts in Wyoming and Arkansas also have found political robocall laws in those states unconstitutional.