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The U.S. Department of Justice, arguing that an appellate court lacked the evidence to make its ruling, is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to nullify a decision upholding the return of gambling ads to TV and radio.

Justice's unusual tack didn't dispute the actual legal reasoning of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in overturning federal laws and rules banning gambling ads on broadcast media (AA, Dec. 22). The appellate decision upheld a lower court ruling and said the mix of federal laws allowing state lotteries and Native American-owned casinos to use broadcast ads, while at the same time barring ads for other casinos, is flawed.

The Justice Department contends recent Supreme Court decisions make clear that any decision be determined by evidence and argues that the case was wrongly decided solely on legal arguments.


The appellate court decision in the Valley Broadcasting case already has forced the government to stop enforcing the broadcast ad ban in eight western states, and the impact could extend nationally because of a recent court decision in New Jersey.

Without the federal laws and regulations, gambling ads would be regulated only by state laws.

Ad groups said last week the Justice Department is wrong in arguing that another hearing is necessary.


"The Supreme Court has already said it will not allow advertising to be the scapegoat in the government's effort to control social ills," said Jeffrey Perlman, senior VP-government affairs for the American Advertising Federation, in a statement.

"In appealing this decision, the Justice Department is ignoring the opinion of our highest court and seeking overly broad restrictions on commercial speech."

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