High Court Considers Free-Speech Dispute

The Supreme Court tackled a free-speech dispute Wednesday that could snuff out President Clinton’s effort to limit cigarette advertising.

As the court considered a challenge to Rhode Island’s ban on liquor-price advertising, several justices voiced concern over what upholding the ban might mean for government’s regulatory power.

“Is your product special?” Breyer asked Rhode Island’s lawyer, Rebecca Partington. “Is there a stopping point?”

Courtroom hypotheticals included mentions of red meat, high-cholesterol foods, guns, bullets and foods that cause cancer when ingested in great amounts by lab animals were mentioned, but not cigarettes.

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