Oklahoma Judge Suspends National Do-Not-Call List

25 September 2003

US District Judge Lee West in Oklahoma City is unlikely to ride high in any popularity poll of American consumers, following his decision Wednesday to block the Federal Trade Commission’s national do-not-call list - just six days from its implementation on October 1.

In a lawsuit filed by the New York-headquartered Direct Marketing Association, the judge ruled in favor of the telemarketers, opining that the FTC lacked clear authority to set-up the list. The FTC disagreed. The judge was “clearly incorrect”, it said and asked the court to stay its ruling.

Congress was outraged at the court’s decision and in no mood to be thwarted by a ruling from the boondocks that obstructs one of the US government’s most popular moves in decades. Leaders from both parties plan to introduce parallel bills in the House and Senate to underpin the FTC’s authority.

In archetypal Good Ol’ Boy mode, Representative Billy Tauzin (Republican, Louisiana) told CNN: “When it comes to passing legislation, Congress is usually a slow-moving beast. But when 50 million Americans are mad, we can be a real speedy rabbit.”

In more restrained New England style, Senator Christopher Dodd (Democrat, Connecticut) voiced a similar sentiment: “Consumers deserve a legislative lock to keep out telephone solicitors,” he said. He plans to introduce a similar bill in the Senate today (Thursday).

Data sourced from: USA Today; additional content by WARC staff