Supreme Court upholds federal ban on robocalls to cellphones

Published: Jul. 11, 2020 at 2:53 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Attorney General Derek Schmidt says the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a federal ban on robocalls to cellphones.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt says the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal ban on almost all robocalls to cellphones is to remain in effect and government debt collectors must abide by it.

“The exploding problem of unwanted robocalls is one of the most pressing consumer-protection issues Kansans face on a day-to-day basis,” Schmidt said. “Today’s ruling affirms that the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act will remain an important piece of our ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to trying to curb the scourge of unwanted robocalls, particularly to cellphones.”

Schmidt says the dispute arose when Congress amended the near-total prohibition on robocalls to cellphones by adding an exception to allow debt-collectors hired by the government such as the Internal Revenue Service to use robocalls in 2015.

According to Schmidt, the plaintiffs in the case then challenged the entire law, arguing that by exempting government debt collection calls from the ban the government engaged in content-based discrimination that preferred one type of speech over others in violation of the First Amendment.

Schmidt says along with a bipartisan coalition of 32 other state attorneys general, filed a brief in March asking the Court to uphold the TCPA’s prohibition on almost all robocalls to cellphones.

A copy of the decision in Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants Inc. can be found here.

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