Personal Liberties

American Beverage Association v. City and County of San Francisco

San Francisco’s tactics in its war on soda violate the First Amendment

A San Francisco ordinance requires advertisements related to sugar-sweetened beverages to devote 20% of the space to city-specified speech: “WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco.” A coalition of beverage trade associations sued the city for violating their First Amendment right not to be forced to express messages with which they disagree. The district court upheld the ordinance and the coalition appealed. PLF filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit arguing that the ordinance must be subjected to heightened scrutiny and fails to pass constitutional muster.

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