Intro.: Like libel, obscenity, and other narrow types of
speech, most kinds of “commercial speech” were traditionally viewed
as being an “unprotected category” totally outside the scope of the
First Am. Instead, the Court applied the Fourteenth Am. to
commercial speech. But just as the Court in recent decades had held
that the states do not have an unlimited right to ban or regulate
speech merely by labeling it “libelous” or “obscene,” so the Court
has now given substantial First Am. protection to speech which can
described as “commercial.” Of course, commercial speech is not
absolutely protected from any regulation. For example, time, place,
and manner restrictions are allowed, so long as there are ample
alternative channels for communication of the information. Also,
false or misleading advertising is not protected.
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