Supreme Court Rejects DNC Appeal

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The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the national no-call list, dismissing without comment a constitutional challenge filed by the American Teleservices Association.

Lisa DeFalco, outgoing chairwoman of the ATA, said she was disappointed in the ruling. The ATA raised $2 million to carry on a legal fight that began last year when the association challenged the list on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment.

"We remain confident that our position, if heard, would have been favored," DeFalco said.

The ruling was not altogether a surprise for the ATA. The Supreme Court hears only 4 percent of the cases sent to it for review, and many considered the ATA's challenge a long shot.

DeFalco said the challenge was worth the money and effort even though it ultimately failed. In the year since the challenge was filed, the teleservices industry has united and made its case before lawmakers and regulating agencies, and the industry must now use those gains to protect its future.

"I feel like we've won," DeFalco said. "The industry has never had an organized voice and message. We accomplished a tremendous amount in one year."

The ATA's case initially met with success. One year ago, a federal judge in Denver delayed the scheduled launch of the list by issuing a ruling in favor of the ATA. Days later, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed that ruling and allowed the no-call list to go forward. Later the appeals court overturned the Denver ruling.

The Direct Marketing Association originally was a party to the industry's no-call challenge. It withdrew from the case after the appeals court reversal.

"The DMA's members had decided earlier this year not to pursue further litigation against the national do-not-call registry," said president/CEO John A. Greco Jr. "Our members include the vast majority of the teleservices industry, and they remain committed to respecting the wishes of those who have placed their household telephone numbers on the do-not-call list. Today's decision changes nothing."

In a statement, Federal Trade Commission chairwoman Deborah Platt Majoras said she was pleased with the court's decision. The decision shows that the no-call list is consistent with First Amendment rights, she said.

"With this legal challenge now behind us, the FTC will continue to champion consumer privacy by maintaining the Registry and taking enforcement action against violators, as appropriate," Majoras said.

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