The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the right of speech from government interference. Although the First Amendment was written in absolute terms—“Congress shall make no law”—the U.S. Supreme Court has never treated it as absolute, allowing the government to regulate some types of expression to varying degrees. Two such types or categories of speech that receive different levels of protection are commercial and political speech.

Political speech, which is speech about issues of public importance, receives the greatest First Amendment protection from government regulation because such speech is seen as essential to self-governance and the protection of the democratic process. It is feared that the threat of government sanctions will “chill” individuals and cause them not to speak out on political issues. Commercial speech, ...

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