• What law was at issue in the case of Anheuser-Busch Inc v. Schmoke (the major of Baltimore), 63 F. 3d 1305, and what was the source of the law?
  • Who challenged the law, and on what grounds was the law challenged?
  • How did the court of appeals decide the case? Was this an easy case for the court to decide?
  • Expert Answers

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    The law at issue in this court case is a Baltimore City municipal ordinance which prohibits certain types of advertisements for alcohol in certain areas of the city. This ordinance was passed at the city level and was intended to minimize the exposure of children to alcohol advertising in areas where children would be expected to play or travel to and from their schools.

    The law was challenged by a beer manufacturer, Anheuser-Busch Inc, on the grounds that it was a violation of free speech laws. Appellate courts repeatedly decided that this challenge did not hold up and that the welfare of the children in question, and the desired outcome of delaying or preventing the start of their alcohol use as they grow up, was considered more important than the free speech issue in this case.

    They made this decision specifically because the city presented evidence that there was an observable and distinct correlation between children's exposure to these kinds of advertisements and underage drinking, and the court found this evidence reasonable. The court sees that regulation of commercial speech can be necessary to achieve other ends desired by the government, such as protecting young people from unavoidable solicitation for adult products.

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