Edenfield v. Fane, 507 U.S. 761 (1993)

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certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the eleventh circuit

No. 91-1594. Argued December 7, 1992—Decided April 26, 1993

Respondent Fane, a certified public accountant (CPA) licensed to practice by the Florida Board of Accountancy, sued the Board for declaratory and injunctive relief on the ground that its rule prohibiting CPA's from engaging in "direct, in-person, uninvited solicitation" to obtain new clients violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments. He alleged that but for the prohibition he would seek clients through personal solicitation, as he had done while practicing in New Jersey, where such solicitation is permitted. The Federal District Court enjoined the rule's enforcement, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held: As applied to CPA solicitation in the business context, Florida's prohibition is inconsistent with the free speech guarantees of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Pp. 765-777. (a) The type of personal solicitation prohibited here is clearly commercial expression to which First Amendment protections apply. E. g., Virginia State Bd. of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, Inc., 425 U. S. 748, 762. Ohralik v. Ohio State Bar Assn., 436 U. S. 447, which upheld a ban on in-person solicitation by lawyers, did not hold that all personal solicitation is without First Amendment protection. In denying CPA's and their clients the considerable advantages of solicitation in the commercial context, Florida's law threatens societal interests in broad access to complete and accurate commercial information that the First Amendment is designed to safeguard. However, commercial speech is "linked inextricably" with the commercial arrangement that it proposes, so that the State's interest in regulating the underlying transaction may give it a concomitant interest in the expression itself. Thus, Florida's rule need only be tailored in a reasonable manner to serve a substantial state interest in order to survive First Amendment scrutiny. See, e. g., Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. v. Public Service Comm'n of N. Y., 447 U. S. 557, 564. Pp. 765-767. (b) Even under the intermediate Central Hudson standard of review, Florida's ban cannot be sustained as applied to Fane's proposed speech. The Board's asserted interests—protecting consumers from fraud or overreaching by CPA's and maintaining CPA independence and ensur-


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