Judge: SC robocall ban is unconstitutional

A federal judge has ruled that a South Carolina ban on automated political phone calls is unconstitutional.

The State newspaper reports that U.S. District Judge Michelle Childs made that ruling in an order signed earlier this month.

The ruling is part of an ongoing lawsuit filed by Robert Cahaly. The political consultant was arrested in 2010 after robocalls comparing one female Democratic statehouse candidate to then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were traced to him.

After the charges were dismissed, Cahaly filed a lawsuit claiming his constitutional right to free speech had been violated.

Childs said state law unfairly singles out political speech, noting the state attorney general previously had interpreted the law to allow political robocalls as long as they are delivered to an answering machine or conducted a survey.