Divided 9th Circuit to allow political ads on public airwaves

Friday, April 13, 2012

Campaign ads may be coming to a public television or radio station near you — if you happen to live in one of the Western states that make up the 9th Circuit, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

A divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday struck down part of a federal law that barred public broadcasters from running political and public-issue ads. The majority found that the ban violates the First Amendment.

“Public issue and political speech in particular is at the very core of the First Amendment’s protection,” Judge Carlos Bea wrote for the majority in Minority Television Project, Inc. v. FCC.

The majority upheld the ban on running ads for commercial products.

The 9th Circuit comprises Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

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