Supreme Court Strikes Down Government Debt Exception, Preserves Rest of Anti-Robocall Law

July 6, 2020

The U.S. Supreme Court declared that the government debt exception to the Telephone Consumer Protect Act violates the First Amendment and severed the exception, preserving the law’s important privacy protections. The case, Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants, concerned a First Amendment challenge to the law that protects consumers from robocalls and the proper remedy when an exception to a statute violates the First Amendment. EPIC defended the TCPA in an amicus brief. EPIC said that the robocall ban is "constitutionally permissible and serves important governmental interests." EPIC explained that cell phone adoption has made "the harm caused by unwanted automated calls" greater than when the robocall ban was enacted in 1991. EPIC said that "without the autodialer ban, the assault of unwanted calls could make cell phones unusable." EPIC also argued that "a minor amendment to an otherwise constitutional law, passed decades after the original enactment, should not take down an act of Congress." EPIC frequently files amicus briefs on the TCPA, including in the related case, Gallion v. Charter Communications.

Support Our Work

EPIC's work is funded by the support of individuals like you, who allow us to continue to protect privacy, open government, and democratic values in the information age.