Indiana’s Seventh Circuit Orders Further Review of “Robocall” Ban

We all know what “robocalls”  are --- computerized auto-dialers calling at dinner time or whenever, delivering a pre-recorded message telling us a prescription’s ready, wanting us to buy something, or vote for one guy, some issue, or something else.

Wikipedia relates “The federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) regulates automated calls, with all robocalls --- though exempt from the National Do Not Call Registry --- still having to identify who is initiating the calls and including a telephone number or address whereby the initiator can be reached to be considered legal [See 47 U.S.C. § 227(d)(3); 47 C.F.R. §64.1200(b)]. That article continues by saying “Some 23 states have laws that regulate or prohibit political robocalls in one way or another. Indiana and North Dakota prohibit automated political calls; In New Hampshire, political robo-calls are allowed, except when the recipient is on the National Do Not Call Registry; and many states require the disclosure of who paid for the call, often requiring such notice be recorded in the candidate's own voice.”

The patch-work of state laws previously implied regulating political robo-calls has created problems for national campaigns over the years -- now highlighted with a National Law Journal’sarticle this morning about the  the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals having remanded Patriotic Veterans v. State of Indiana back down to Southern District of Indiana Judge William Lawrence for a consideration of the ban’s First Amendment implications, along with reversing his September 2011 ruling that the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act pre-empted the Indiana law as it applies to interstate robo-calls. Lawrence had granted an injunction, but the Seventh Circuit stayed it that December.