U.S. Supreme Court urged to overrule Indiana’s robocall ban

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An Illinois-based veterans advocacy group has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Indiana's ban on political robocalls, arguing that free speech should outweigh privacy rights.

Patriotic Veterans Inc. is appealing a 7th Circuit Court ruling that said Indiana has a legitimate interest in blocking unwanted, automatically dialed phone calls, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The not-for-profit says the more important principle of First Amendments rights is at stake.

"Our patriotic veterans did not fight in the rice paddies of Vietnam or the bone-chilling cold of Korea to protect Indiana citizens' right to be protected from 'annoyance,'" said a written statement from its national chairman, Jim Nalepa.

Patriotic Veterans president Paul Caprio said the group places automated calls in 35 states. The calls are meant to influence public policy on issues "that matter to veterans and other voters."

State law, particularly the Automatic Dialing Machine Statute, bars prerecorded telephone calls that contain political messages.

Former Attorney General Greg Zoeller took a hard-line stance on phone privacy in Indiana, where the topic of robocalls is contentious.

Three exceptions to the ban in Indiana include messages from school districts to students, parents or employees; messages to subscribers with whom the caller has a current business or personal relationship; and messages advising employees of work schedules.

The newspaper reported that the challenge to the law dates to 2010, when the group filed suit over the restrictions.

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