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B. Iowa Revisions



Iowa has also made some effort toward addressing the issue of electronic advertising. Iowa's approach takes the form of Supreme Court Rules, as opposed to a statute.[57] Iowa provides different restrictions on lawyer advertising dependent on the media used.[58] Some of the areas included are in-person, telephone directory, general print (newspapers, and periodicals etc.), and electronic.[59]

For electronic media the rules require that information may be "articulated only by a single nondramatic voice, not that of the lawyer, and with no other background sound." The rules also provide that for television advertisements "no visual display shall be allowed except that allowed in print as articulated by the announcer."[60] In addition, the rules provide a general restriction that advertising not appeal to the "emotions, prejudices, likes, or dislikes of a person, or which contains any claim that is not verifiable."[61]

The constitutionality of these rules was addressed in Committee on Professional Ethics and Conduct of the Iowa State Bar v. Humphrey.[62] The defendant in that action argued that the rules were unconstitutional because they infringed on his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.[63] The Iowa Supreme Court upheld the rules, stating that the United States Supreme Court had made clear that regulation is "permissible where the record indicates that a particular form or method of advertising has in fact been deceptive."[64] The Iowa court also noted that the Supreme Court had previously recognized the "special problems" of television advertising,[65] and concluded that a state "can regulate advertisements which . . . experience has proven to be subject to abuse."[66]

The defendant appealed the decision, and while the appeal was pending the Supreme Court handed down their decision in Zauderer v. Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court of Ohio. The Supreme Court subsequently vacated the initial judgment and remanded the case for consideration in light of Zauderer. On remand the court reaffirmed its position that the Rules were constitutional.[67] Zauderer had struck down Ohio's prohibition on the use of illustrations in lawyer advertisements. The court distinguished Zauderer by noting that it concerned print advertising, and that the courts language repeatedly referred to it as such.[68]

The court inserted language that virtually invited overrule if their interpretation of Zauderer was incorrect. Referring to the statements by the Supreme Court to the effect that electronic media presented "special problems" the court stated: "We took this exclusion seriously and at face value because we emphatically agree that "special problems" do exist in the field of electronic advertising. It was because of them that we, and those who helped us, went to considerable effort to consider and draft our electronic advertising rule. If we misapprehended the language just quoted, if there are in fact no special problems in this area which warrant a special rule, then we have squandered those efforts."[69] The defendants again appealed the decision, but it was refused by the Supreme Court for lack of a federal question. A subsequent request for rehearing was also denied.[70]




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