Insisting that retailers have a First Amendment right not to be forced to speak for the government, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court urging the Court to strike down an ordinance requiring cell phone retailers to tell consumers that cell phones are dangerous. In the brief filed in CTIA-Wireless Association v. The City of Berkeley, Institute attorneys ask the Court to declare unconstitutional an ordinance adopted by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors requiring cell phone retailers to advise purchasers about the disputed health effects of cell phone usage. Institute attorneys argue that the ordinance is unconstitutional because it forces citizens to become unwilling mouthpieces for the controversial viewpoints of their elected officials.
“The very purpose of the First Amendment, as Justice Hugo L. Black recognized, is to ensure that Americans are free to think, speak, write and worship as they please, not as the government dictates,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “Well-meaning or not, the government’s desire to communicate a disputed health alert about cell phone usage cannot be permitted to trump the First Amendment rights of citizens—including retailers—to decide for themselves whether or not to advance such a message.”