Supreme Court Rules for Checkoff Programs
(Akron/Tire Review) The Associated Press has reported that the US Supreme Court ruled that the government was within its rights to force beef producers to pay for a multimillion-dollar “Beef: It’s what’s for dinner” marketing program, despite disagreement by some individual cattle producers who disagreed with the direction of the campaign.
The court’s 6-3 decision stated that such checkoff campaigns are a form of “government speech” immune to First Amendment challenge.
There is no immediate word yet as to how the Supreme Court decision will impact efforts by TIA to formulate a similar program to support the tyre industry and tyre dealers, but it is expected that this will clear major legal concerns voiced by the Rubber Manufacturers Association and tyre makers and importers.
“The message set out in the beef promotions is from beginning to end the message established by the federal government,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in an opinion joined by Chief Justice William Rehnquist as well as Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer.
Justices David Souter, John Paul Stevens and Anthony Kennedy, in their minority opinion, said the campaign was not government speech, and that if the government attempts “to compel specific groups to fund speech with targeted taxes, it must make itself politically accountable for indicating that the content actually is a government message.”