Anheuser-Busch Incorporated V. Schmoke Essay Samples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Advertising, City, Alcoholism, Criminal Justice, Commercial, Court, Crime, Drinking

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/11/12


1. The law at issue in the case was Ordinance 288 enacted by Baltimore City under the authority of the state. The Ordinance prohibited outdoor advertising of alcoholic beverages in locations where children walked and played, providing leeway for permitting such advertising in commercial and industrial zoned areas of the city. The law had emanated from Baltimore City’s findings that alcoholic beverages, the second most advertised products in America, were unique and distinguishable as a medium of advertising and they subjected the public to involuntary solicitation. Billboards advertising alcoholic beverages in areas where children walked to school or played in the neighborhood were specially found to be influencing children. This prompted Baltimore City into issuing its Ordinance banning alcohol advertising in certain locations in Baltimore City.
2. Anheuser Busch Inc. challenged Ordinance 288 of Baltimore City on the basis that the Ordinance violated the privileges accorded to commercial speech under the First Amendment. Anheuser Busch contended that there was no correlation between outdoor advertising and underage drinking. It maintained that its advertisements were meant to expand market share against its competitors and not to influence children for enhancing sales. On appeal, Aneuser Busch reiterated that the ban did not advance the government’s interest in promoting the temperance in minors, and was not narrowly tailored towards that purpose because the ban also prevented adults from being exposed to the advertising. Aneuser Busch further argued that instead of banning the advertising, the state could just as easily curb underage drinking by stricter enforcement of existing laws prohibiting sale of liquor to minors, through educational efforts and awareness campaigns.
3. I think that the challenged law was unfair to Anheuser Busch. The Ordinance prevented Anheuser Busch from extending its advertising in many areas in the city where adults, besides children, would have been exposed to the advertising. Preventing commercial speech stymies business houses from finding means of competing with their peers and becoming more profitable. If business houses were prevented from becoming profitable, the essence of America being a land of capitalism would be ultimately compromised. Besides, there was no established empirical study that could prove that exposure to advertising led to increased alcohol consumption by minors. A host of other factors, such as social acceptance, peer pressure, lack of parental interest would be at play. No extent of imagination could attribute the extant fifty percent of drinking population amongst minors to outdoor advertising. It would be, therefore, unfair to penalize the commercial firms while the major problem lay with society at large.
4. The Court of Appeals decided the case in favor of Baltimore City. The Court of Appeals accepted the argument of Anheuser Busch that the ban on outdoor advertising prevented adults, the object of the government’s legislation, from being exposed to commercial speech. However, the Court of Appeals took into cognizance the major problem of underage drinking in Baltimore City, taking into account the fact that half the deaths of minors and nearly 40% of juvenile crimes were alcohol related. The Court felt that it was the duty of Baltimore City to take all necessary measures to try to curb underage drinking, and found it within the realms of reason for Baltimore City to try to ban outdoor advertising. While the Court accepted that the measure did stymie commercial speech within the framework of the First Amendment, the Court was willing to provide the necessary leeway to Baltimore City in this regard.
Overall, the case was tough to decide, as it was bound to have repercussions throughout the United States. While a decision upholding the ban would act as an impingement to commercial speech, staying the ban would ultimately affect underage drinking negatively. Therefore, the Court of Appeals had to rely on its sense of jurisprudence and judgment to decide on the case, and it decided in favor of the city of Baltimore.

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"Anheuser-Busch Incorporated V. Schmoke Essay Samples," Free Essay Examples -, 12-Nov-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 18-May-2024].
Anheuser-Busch Incorporated V. Schmoke Essay Samples. Free Essay Examples - Published Nov 12, 2020. Accessed May 18, 2024.

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