College Newspapers: Alcohol Advertisements as Speech

Earlier this week the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of an earlier federal appeals court ruling that held that Virginia’s alcohol regulatory board could ban alcohol advertisements in student newspapers. According to an Associated Press article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

The U.S. Supreme Court is leaving in place a ban on alcohol advertising in Virginia’s college newspapers.

The court rejected an appeal filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the newspapers. The appeal argued that the ban is an unconstitutional restraint on speech.

Virginia Tech’s Collegiate Times and the University of Virginia’s Cavalier Daily, represented by the ACLU, failed to persuade the court to hear their case, Educational Media Co. v. Swecker.

The colleges objected to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission’s prohibition on the grounds that it represented an unconstitutional ban on commercial speech.

The Virginia colleges also have more practical concerns; each newspaper will lose about $30,000 a year without the advertisements.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer