Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


The First Amendment not only protects against limitations on one's speech but against governmentally compelled speech as well. Although the Supreme Court afforded increasing protection to commercial speech, a majority later held that an analysis of compelled advertising in this context did not raise First Amendment issues. In United States v. United Foods. No. 00276 (June 25, 2001), the United States Supreme Court revisited this issue, holding that "the mandated support is contrary to the First Amendment principles set forth in cases involving expression by groups which include persons who object to speech, but who, nevertheless, must remain members of the group by law or necessity." Under current doctrinal principles, persuasive arguments may be fashioned to support a finding of unconstitutionality of regulatory schemes outside the agriculture context, yet the Court's inconsistent treatment of compelled commercial speech has left little guidance to scholars, litigators, and lower courts. This Note explores the implications of United Foods and discusses whether the Court's ruling can be extended to prevent government compelled financing of advertisements in the tobacco, alcohol, and wine industries.