OCTOBER TERM, 2019
NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is
being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.
The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been
prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.
See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337.
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL, ET AL. v. AMERICAN
ASSOCIATION OF POLITICAL CONSULTANTS,
INC., ET AL.
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR
THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
No. 19–631. Argued May 6, 2020—Decided July 6, 2020
In response to consumer complaints, Congress passed the Telephone
Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) to prohibit, inter alia, almost
all robocalls to cell phones. 47 U. S. C. §227(b)(1)(A)(iii). In 2015, Con-
gress amended the robocall restriction, carving out a new government-
debt exception that allows robocalls made solely to collect a debt owed
to or guaranteed by the United States. 129 Stat. 588. The American
Association of Political Consultants and three other organizations that
participate in the political system filed a declaratory judgment action,
claiming that §227(b)(1)(A)(iii) violated the First Amendment. The
District Court determined that the robocall restriction with the gov-
ernment-debt exception was content-based but that it survived strict
scrutiny because of the Government’s compelling interest in collecting
debt. The Fourth Circuit vacated the judgment, agreeing that the robo-
call restriction with the government-debt exception was a content-
based speech restriction, but holding that the law could not withstand
strict scrutiny. The court invalidated the government-debt exception
and applied traditional severability principles to sever it from the ro-
Held: The judgment is affirmed.
923 F. 3d