Brief Fact Summary. The Respondent, Public Service Commission of New York (Respondent), imposed a ban on all advertising by utility companies.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Commercial speech that is not misleading and concerns lawful activity may be regulated if the government has a substantial interest that will be advanced through a narrowly drawn regulation.
First, the Court must determine whether the expression is protected by the First Amendment.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Does this ban on advertisement violate the First Amendment of the Constitution?
Held. Yes. Although energy conservation is important, it does not justify a total ban on all advertisements promoting the use of electric devices or services.
Discussion. This is an identical test to intermediate scrutiny. The government has the burden to prove that there is a substantial interest that the regulation protects. It is not appropriate to continue a ban to curb consumption of the electric utility.