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.
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
Issue. Is this advertisement commercial speech?
Held. Yes. All of the mailings are commercial speech.
Discussion. 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).