Supreme Court rules on TCPA exemption for robocalls

The Supreme Court issued their findings on a legal challenge to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA), which prohibits robocalls to cellphones and home phones. The Court decided the ban should remain, with some changes.


The TCPA was amended in 2015 to create an exemption allowing debt collection robocalls to people who owed money to the federal government or for debts guaranteed by the federal government.

The case before the Court was Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC). The AAPC argued that the exemption for government debt collection robocalls was unconstitutional, a violation of the First Amendment. Therefore, the entire TCPA should be struck down, said the AAPC.

Court decisions

Seven members of the Court (Alito, Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan, Kavanaugh, Roberts, Sotomayor) said that the special exemption for federal debt collection robocalls should be struck from the law while the rest of the law remains in force.

Two justices (Gorsuch, Thomas) also believed that the exemption was unconstitutional, but they would prefer to strike down the entire TCPA.

Supreme Court issues findings on challenge to TCPA robocall rules