Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

50 Federal Communications Law Journal 753 (1998)


In 1980 the Supreme Court decided Central Hudson and, in so doing, articulated the parameters of the modern commercial speech doctrine. In providing a four-part test to determine the validity of government efforts to restrict commercial speech, the Court engaged in "intermediate scrutiny" and created the expectation among free speech advocates that the Court was finally ready to provide higher measure of constitutional protection to commercial speech. In the nearly fifteen years after Central Hudson, these advocates have been disappointed as the Court has inconsistently weighed the factors that comprise the test. The opportunity to adopt a less- manipulative test, which would involve strict scrutiny analysis for reviewing advertising and other types of commercial speech was not seized by the Court when it considered 44 Liquormart, Inc. v. Rhode Island in 1994 and, thus, murkiness within commercial speech protection remains.