Brief Fact Summary. The Respondent, Youngs Drug Products Corp. (Respondent), wants to send direct mailings to the public advertising its contraceptives. A federal statute prohibits such activity.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Commercial speech does no more than propose a commercial transaction.
The Federal code prohibits unsolicited advertisements for contraceptives to be mailed. The Respondent manufactures a variety of contraceptives and usually sells to distributors. But, now it wants to send an advertising brochure to its regular customers, plus members of the public in general.
Issue. Is this advertisement commercial speech?
Held. Yes. All of the mailings are commercial speech.
Discussion. Points of Law - for Law School Success
As Justice Holmes once recognized, the United States may give up the Post Office when it sees fit, but while it carries it on the use of the mails is almost as much a part of free speech as the right to use our tongues. View Full Point of Law
Whether the printed material is commercial speech depends upon the existence of three distinct attributes: (1) it is meant to be an advertisement, (2) it references a particular product, and (3) there is an economic motivation for disseminating the material. If all of these attributes are present, then it is protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution (Constitution).