Commercial Speech

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The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” ( Over the years there have been many court cases that try to help decipher what is mean by the 1st amendment. In 1942 commercial speech was introduced by the Supreme Court with the Valentine V. Chrestensen case. Commercial Speech is speech done on behalf of a company or individual for the intent of making a profit. It is economic in nature and usually has the intent of convincing the audience to partake in a particular action, often purchasing a specific product ( In 1993 Hornell Brewing Co., Inc. v. Brady questioned the protection of commercial speech. Hornell manufactured and sold a malt liquor which it labeled “Crazy Horse." The name Crazy Horse sparked a trail of controversy with Congress. One reason was because the “Crazy Horse” is an approximate English translation of the Lakota name Tasunke Witko, which belonged to a now-deceased Native American leader who was against the consumption of alcohol by any of his people. Crazy Horse lived in the Black Hills of South Dakota where he was a spiritual and political leader of the Lokota Indians. So in 1992 Congress passed a law that banned Hornell from using the name “Crazy Horse”.

Hornell argued that the company’s right to free speech was being violated and that manufacturing and selling the product was a lawful activity that should be protected under commercial speech. Hornell also argued just because some people were offended by the name “Crazy Horse” didn’t substantiate the matter enough to ban the use of the name. In addition, Hornell argued that the company was not targeting one specific group to market their product to and especially not gearing...
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