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Supreme Court could take up smoky First Amendment issue

Could the battle over a federal rule requiring prominent warnings on cigarette boxes and other tobacco product packaging be headed for the U.S. Supreme Court?

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration unveiled a series of graphic labels – featuring images such as a man exhaling cigarette smoke through a tracheotomy hole, cancerous mouth sores and a post-autopsy cadaver – that tobacco companies would be required to place prominently on its products under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

But the companies sued in federal court, claiming the labeling requirement violated their First Amendment rights. Friday, the D.C. Circuit created an appellate split by ruling in the tobacco companies’ favor – a decision at odds with a 6th Circuit ruling in March holding that there was no violation. The split makes the issue ripe for Supreme Court consideration.

More on the regulations and appellate decisions from Lawyers USA.

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