Oral argument on a 1st Amendment case was heard by the Supreme Court last Wednesday. The case centers on
whether or not a 1991 law that protects people from receiving unwarranted telemarketer calls is a violation of the First Amendment when applied to political organizations.
This strikes me as a no-brainer that never should have gotten out of any District court. The 1st Amendment bars the abridgment of political speech in the public square. It does not take away the right of private citizens to decide for themselves what speech they will hear from within their own, private property.
That private property is entered by telephone as surely as it is by the speaker’s physical presence, and those resident on the property have no more obligation to allow the speaker’s telephonic entry than they do the speaker’s physical entry.
Nor does the 1st Amendment create a right of a political speaker—or any other speaker, or any person in any guise—to use another person’s private property to speak, nor does it create an obligation of the property owner to allow that use. This applies to land lines terminating in a home or private business, and it applies to a wireless telephone, or a cell phone, or any other communications device wherever its owner might happen to be at the time of the political speech effort.
The Supreme Court should so rule, and it shouldn’t take long or very many pages at all to convey the ruling.