44 Liquormart, Inc. v. Rhode Island, 517 U. S. 484 (1996)

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Opinion of Stevens, J.

ers, June 10, 1731, reprinted in 2 Writings of Benjamin Franklin 172 (1907).

In accord with the role that commercial messages have long played, the law has developed to ensure that advertising provides consumers with accurate information about the availability of goods and services. In the early years, the common law, and later, statutes, served the consumers' interest in the receipt of accurate information in the commercial market by prohibiting fraudulent and misleading advertising. It was not until the 1970's, however, that this Court held that the First Amendment protected the dissemination of truthful and nonmisleading commercial messages about lawful products and services. See generally Kozinski & Banner, The Anti-History and Pre-History of Commercial Speech, 71 Texas L. Rev. 747 (1993).

In Bigelow v. Virginia, 421 U. S. 809 (1975), we held that it was error to assume that commercial speech was entitled to no First Amendment protection or that it was without value in the marketplace of ideas. Id., at 825-826. The following Term in Virginia Bd. of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, Inc., 425 U. S. 748 (1976), we expanded on our holding in Bigelow and held that the State's blanket ban on advertising the price of prescription drugs violated the First Amendment.

Virginia Bd. of Pharmacy reflected the conclusion that the same interest that supports regulation of potentially misleading advertising, namely, the public's interest in receiving accurate commercial information, also supports an interpretation of the First Amendment that provides constitutional protection for the dissemination of accurate and nonmis-leading commercial messages. We explained:

"Advertising, however tasteless and excessive it sometimes may seem, is nonetheless dissemination of information as to who is producing and selling what product, for what reason, and at what price. So long as we pre-

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