INDIANAPOLIS — A federal appeals court has turned down a challenge to the state's do-not-call list that claimed the law violates constitutional free-speech rights.
The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled July 28 in National Coalition of Prayer v. Carter that Indiana's interest in protecting residents' right not to endure unwanted speech in their own homes outweighed the First Amendment concerns of the charities that sued.
The decision by the three-judge panel upholds a ruling made last year by a federal judge in Indianapolis against the challenge to the phone-privacy law.
"This ruling is a great victory, and after consistent legal successes in state and federal courts, we hope that telemarketers are beginning to understand that citizens have rights to protect themselves from unwanted sales calls," state Attorney General Steve Carter said.
Indiana's law allows charities to solicit over the phone if they use employees or volunteers to call. Professional fundraisers are barred from calling numbers registered on the list. The charities that sued used professional telemarketers to solicit donations.
Four nonprofit groups — the National Coalition of Prayer, the Kentucky-Indiana Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Indiana Troopers Association and the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police — sued the state in April 2002, saying the anti-telemarketing law violated their right to free speech and thwarted their ability to raise money. The troopers' group later dropped out of the lawsuit.
A state appeals court also upheld the law in July 2002.