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Buffalo Law Review

First Page

311

Document Type

Article

Abstract

In National Institute of Family & Life Advocates v. Becerra, the United States Supreme Court struck down a California law requiring crisis pregnancy centers to post certain signs.1 The Court implied that the case involved a relatively straightforward example of governmental overreaching, with the government allegedly attempting to commandeer private entities and force them to convey the government’s message.2 Yet, the Court omitted important background information when discussing the state’s implicated interests,3 and the Court’s analyses and rationales may have important First Amendment implications. While the Court may have reached the right result, its analyses bode poorly for a reasoned and consistent approach with respect to abortion regulations on the one hand or a variety of First Amendment issues on the other.

Part II of this Article offers background information about crisis pregnancy centers as well as some discussion of the existing jurisprudence regarding the constitutionality of limitations on commercial and professional speech. Part III discusses Becerra, noting how the decision omitted important information that should have been part of the analysis—while the result would have been the same, the Court would not have been implying that it was making important changes in First Amendment jurisprudence. Part IV discusses some of the possible implications of Becerra, including some of the suits that likely will be filed in light of the opinion. The Article concludes that the opinion has a number of surprising implications and time will tell whether these reflect poor craftsmanship or instead a shift in a few different areas of constitutional law.

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