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Constitutional Law

2007

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

False advertising

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It Depends On What The Meaning Of "False" Is: Falsity And Misleadingness In Commercial Speech Doctrine, Rebecca Tushnet Jan 2007

It Depends On What The Meaning Of "False" Is: Falsity And Misleadingness In Commercial Speech Doctrine, Rebecca Tushnet

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

While scholarship regarding the Supreme Court's noncommercial speech doctrine has often focused on the level of protection for truthful, non-misleading commercial speech, scholars have paid little attention to the exclusion of false or misleading commercial speech from all First Amendment protection. Examining the underpinnings of the false and misleading speech exclusion illuminates the practical difficulties that abolishing the commercial speech doctrine would pose. Through a series of fact patterns in trademark and false advertising cases, this piece demonstrates that defining what is false or misleading is often debatable. If commercial speech were given First Amendment protection, consumer protection and First …