Free Speech Victory Against the FDA's "Graphic" Warnings
The FDA has, thankfully, suffered another setback in its campaign to force tobacco companies to distribute anti-smoking propaganda. The DC Circuit has upheld a lower court opinion striking down FDA regulations requiring that the front and back panels of every cigarette pack include certain government-approved "graphic warnings" against smoking. Nothing too extreme, mind you, just a man blowing smoke out of a tracheotomy hole and similar pictures.
Over at Manhattan Institute's Point of Law blog, I explain why the DC Circuit's opinion is a victory for free speech (Richard Epstein made similar points back in November, when a district court temporarily halted the regulations). Disclosure - even warning messages - are one thing. They are designed to ensure that consumers have a minimum level of facts about the product. But this kind of compelled speech is a different animal -- forcing manufacturers to proselytize against their own products.
The First Amendment protects your right to say what you want -- so it must also protect your right not to be forced to say things. Read my full analysis at Point of Law.