Samantha Rauer’s ('13) note cited by an amicus brief filed in the 6th Circuit

As a symposium editor for the American Journal of Law & Medicine, Samantha Rauer ('13) was looking forward to being published in the December 2012 edition. However, she was overjoyed to learn that her note also made an appearance in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Her article, “When the First Amendment and Public Health Collide: The Court's Increasingly Strict Constitutional Scrutiny of Health Regulations that Restrict Commercial Speech,” examines the Supreme Court’s application of the Commercial Speech Doctrine in striking down recent public health legislation affecting advertising. Rauer argues that the Court is trending toward stringency rather than the intermediate standard established in Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizen's Consumer Council, Inc. samantharauer

A few months after Rauer’s note was published, the 6th Circuit heard an appeal involving Ohio’s Precious Metals Dealers Act, which imposed a licensing requirement on all vendors advertising a willingness to purchase gold, silver or other precious metals.

Public interest watchdog Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) filed an amicus brief against the bill, arguing that since the regulation applies to speech rather than the act of purchasing precious metals, it violates the First Amendment. In the brief, PLF used Rauer’s analysis of the Commercial Speech Doctrine to argue for a heightened level of scrutiny for content-based commercial speech regulations—which is, interestingly, a position contrary to Rauer’s conclusion. 

“I think this just goes to show how unsettled and complicated this area of the law is currently,” Rauer says. “But it is rewarding to know that my research may have some real, tangible impact.”

Rauer was excited and surprised to learn the news. “The process of academic writing in law school can feel removed from the real world,” Rauer says. “So this was a gratifying reminder that legal scholarship can be used to affect genuine change.”

Rauer’s interests include constitutional law, education policy, civil rights, and consumer law. After interning in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice in the fall semester, she recently received her J.D. and is currently studying for the New York bar exam.

Reported by Yazhou Sun
July 22, 2013

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