Saturday, September 27, 2003

Rights and Reason: Prioritizing Rights

This will be my last post on Do Not Call for awhile, at least until the Tenth Circuit decides what to do. The FTC has appealed and asked the district court in Denver to stay its decision and allow the registry to take effect while the appeals are pending. I found this paragraph from the FTC's brief in support of the stay motion quite fascinating:
There will be irreparable harm if a stay is not granted. Already, consumers have registered more than 50 million telephone numbers onto the registry. By doing this, millions of consumers have indicated that they find unwanted telemarketing calls to be abusive and they want them stopped. Again, as this Court noted, “protecting the well-being, tranquility, and privacy of the home is of the highest order in a free and civilized society.” Order at 20. The Rule’s registry provisions that protect consumers were scheduled to take effect on October 1,
2003. If this Court’s Order is not stayed, these consumers will continue, after that date, to receive abusive telemarketing calls. There is no remedy for the countless intrusions on privacy such abusive calls will impose on these consumers during the time an appeal in this case is pending.
The FTC's argument would have more credibility with me if the agency didn't spent the majority of its resources violating the fundamental rights of Americans. While the FTC considers "privacy of the home" sacrosanct in this context, the Commission thinks nothing of stripping the nation's physicians of their right to contract, forbidding private associations from expressing ethical opinions, or taking the property of private companies to serve an undefined "public interest". Yet when it comes to thwarting telemarketers, the agency will spare no expense (or rhetoric) in defense of individual liberties.

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