LOCATION: City of Minneapolis
DOCKET NO.: 91-1594
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1991-1993)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
CITATION: 507 US 761 (1993)
ARGUED: Dec 07, 1992
DECIDED: Apr 26, 1993
David C. Vladeck - on behalf of the Respondent
Parker D. Thomson - on behalf of the Petitioners
Facts of the case
Media for Edenfield v. FaneAudio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 07, 1992 in Edenfield v. Fane
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - April 26, 1993 in Edenfield v. Fane
William H. Rehnquist:
The opinion of the court in No. 91-1594, Edenfield against Fane will be announced by Justice Kennedy.
Anthony M. Kennedy:
As the Chief Justice has indicated this case is called Edenfield versus Fane.
Mr. Scott Fane is a certified public accountant.
He formally practiced in New Jersey where he had a successful practice.
In 1985, he moved to Florida and he wanted to live there and start his accounting practice there.
He intended to follow the same working pattern that he had had in New Jersey.
He built his practice in New Jersey by soliciting business clients.
He would call them by telephone and try to arrange a meeting and if he get arranged a face-to-face meeting, he would explain the skills the he had and how he might be a particular assistant to the business.
But he could not do that in Florida.
Florida had an anti-solicitation ban imposed by Florida Law.
The ban prohibited accountants from in face or personal solicitation.
And so it was -- Mr. Fane, brought this suit in the Federal Courts to challenge the constitutionality of this restriction.
He challenged it on the basis that when he was engaging in his speech, he was seeking to communicate truthful and non-deceptive information about a lawful transaction.
And the court has recognized that although this is called commercial speech, it is still entitled to the protection of the Constitution.
We have said that this commercial speech has considerable value in the opinion of today.
They say that the commercial market place like others fears of our social and cultural life by the form or ideas and information flash.
And some of the ideas and information are vital and some are little worth.
But the general rule is that the speaker and the audience not the government assess the value of the information presented.
And so, even if a communication that there is no more than proposed the commercial transaction is entitled to protection of the First Amendment.
Now, it is true that the State when you have commercial speech, can impose reasonable regulations respecting it.
Here, the estate advances various interests, its principal argument is that preventing in person solicitation, avoids fraud and over-reaching, avoid circumstances in which accountants are might be tempted to say that they would certify financial statements falsely.
Now, we find for the reasons that we expressed in the opinion today that this justifications and others offered by the estate are not advanced in any direct or material way by this solicitation ban.
And so, we agree with the District Court and the Court of Appeals that this regulation in the context here, in the business context that Fane posits cannot be applied to him.
It is lawful speech that is being suppressed by the Constitution and this violates the First and the Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution.
We therefore, affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.
Justice Blackmun has filed a concurring opinion and Justice O'Connor has filed a dissenting opinion.