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First Amendment Library:
Parker D. Thomson


Scott Fane, a certified public accountant, built a successful solo practice in New Jersey by making unsolicited telephone calls to business executives and then arranging meetings to explain his expertise and services. Fane then moved to Florida, where he learned that such calls were prohibited by the Florida Board of Accountancy. Fane challenged this prohibition on First Amendment grounds, and the district court held that the rule was invalid as it applied to solicitations of business clients. The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed. In Virginia State Bd. of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, 425 U.S. 748 (1976), the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time recognized that commercial speech speech that concerns only commercial or economic activity is entitled to some First Amendment protection. The government therefore may regulate commercial speech only if it is false or misleading or if the restriction directly and narrowly advances a substantial state interest. Central Hudson Gas & Elec. v. Public Serv. Comm. of N.Y., 447 U.S. 557 (1978).