Common sense has emerged from the US in the form of district judge Richard Leon, who has told the US Government that forcing tobacco companies to plaster disgusting images about the so called hazards of smoking all over their products is an action that should it be allowed, would amount to a violation of free speech under the US constitution. It's nice to hear that freedom of speech still means something these days...its been in desparately short supply just lately...particularly with regard to anyone that dares to enjoy a legal product called tobacco. Anyway, these ludicrously fake images - which bear absolutely no resemblance to real life - were dreamt up by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) some yeasrs ago, which shows a prime example of a nanny ministry in action.
However on this occasion they've been put firmly back in their box...and it would appear that their interference for once has been roundly kicked into touch...and about time too. This same judge granted a preliminary injunction last year, which effectively stopped any of these labels being forced to be displayed on tobacco products in 2012, which the Obama administration has already appealed in the District of Columbia Circuit. It's nice when nose prodding politicians suffer this kind of indignity...it reminds them that they aren't above the law anymore than we are. Naturally you can bet the Government will appeal this new ruling.
There are about nine images that have been photo shopped for our convenience and were released last June by the FDA, ready to go on tobacco products by September 2012, and this would be the first change in 25 years. I'm sure they want to make up for lost time - eh?
Here is some wonderful and sound commonsense from the Judge: "Unfortunately, because Congress did not consider the First Amendment implications of this legislation, it did not concern itself with how the regulations could be narrowly tailored to avoid unintentionally compelling commercial speech,".
Notably a spokesman for the Justice Department, representing the FDA in this case, had no comment to make. You sometimes wonder what kind of legal advice they would have had wouldn't you? A great day for common sense though.
I just have to wonder why our courts over here in nanny-land can't be persuaded to do the same thing.