Federal Judge Upholds Montana’s Robocall Prohibition
HELENA – On Feb. 9, a federal district court judge upheld the constitutionality of Montana’s prohibition on automated political phone calls (robocalls). In the case of Victory Processing LLC. vs. Montana, Judge Charles Lovell of Helena ruled “…Montana’s robocall statute is a constitutionally permissible content-based regulation of speech.”
Attorney General Tim Fox, whose office defended the Montana law, applauded the ruling. “Through their representatives in the legislature, the people of Montana have made clear they don’t want robocalls in our state,” Fox said. “This ruling upholds the will of the people, and I’m proud of my team for successfully defending the law.”
In his ruling, Judge Lovell stated, “The governmental interest advanced by the statute is the compelling interest in protecting residential privacy and tranquility. The Montana statute is narrowly tailored to that government interest by preserving control and choice for the householder and leaving ample alternative (including all of the more traditional) channels of communication for the protected political speech.”
Judge Lovell emphasized the individual property and privacy protections established in Montana’s law, stating, “In the context of robocalls, Montana’s statutory restrictions on robocalls are intended to preserve, not diminish, the private property owner’s control over his or her property and personal choices regarding receipt of communications, both of which are integral elements of residential privacy.”
The challenge to Montana’s law was filed in February 2017 by Victory Processing LLC., a political consulting firm from Michigan.