Hot off the Presses

Recent developments in consumer law.

U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Exception for Government Debt Robocall Ban Under the First Amendment, Retains Robocall Restrictions

July 20, 2020

On July 6, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States held in Barr v. American Assn. of Political Consultants, Inc. that the 2015 amendment to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) allowing robocalls to be used for collecting government debts violates the First Amendment. However, the Court severed that provision from the rest of the statute, keeping the overall robocall ban intact. The Court ruled 6-3...

Ninth Circuit Panel Holds that California Private Post-Secondary School Regulation Infringes on the First Amendment

July 20, 2020

On June 10, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held, in Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School v. Kirchmeyer, that a provision of California’s Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (PPEA) regulates speech and implicates heightened First Amendment scrutiny. Though cloaked as a modest decision, in fact the court’s opinion represents a radical expansion of the use of the First Amendment as a deregulatory tool.

California enacted...

California Supreme Court Allows District Attorneys to Enforce State Consumer Protection Laws Outside Their County

July 6, 2020

On June 25, 2020, the California Supreme Court issued its ruling in Abbott Laboratories v. Superior Court of Orange County, answering the question whether local district attorneys may enforce California’s unfair competition law (UCL) outside their county’s borders. The Court answered in the affirmative, allowing district attorneys to seek statewide relief for consumers.

The case originated when several pharmaceutical companies allegedly entered into agreements to...

U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down For-Cause Termination for CFPB Director but Otherwise Preserves the Bureau, Matching Outcome Proposed in Center’s Amicus Brief

June 30, 2020

On June 29, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Court ruled 5-4 that the provision allowing the President to remove the Director of the CFPB only for cause was unconstitutional; the Justices also held 7-2 that the for-cause provision of the Dodd-Frank Act is severable, and the CFPB may stand without it.

The Bureau thus survived the constitutional...