Dental regulations gummed up by the First Amendment

Longtime Texas practitioners will remember when lawyer ads had to contain a cumbersome notice that the attorney was “NOT BOARD CERTIFIED – TEXAS BOARD OF LEGAL SPECIALIZATION” if he or she did not have a TBLS certification.  The dental field bit into a similar regulation in American Academy of Implant Dentistry v. Parke, which prohibited claims of specialization in areas not recognized by the American Dental Association. The Fifth Circuit panel majority, after chewing on the First Amendment framework for the regulation of commercial speech, found a poor bridge between the asserted government interest and the scope of the regulation, making it unconstitutional. A dissent would have affirmed the regulation as addressing “inherently misleading” speech, which is rooted in a different First Amendment framework. No. 16-50157 (June 19, 2017).

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