A lawsuit filed by the University of Virginia and Virginia Teach college newspapers, along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), challenging a ban on alcohol advertisements in college newspapers was unsuccessful. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed by the ACLU after a federal appeals court upheld the ban, according to the Virginian-Pilot.
The case, Educational Media Company v. Swecker, focused on whether or not the ban was a violated a college newspaper constitutional right to free speech. The appeals court argued that the ban was not a violation since it was limited in scope and was meant to deter underage drinking by college students who are under the age of 21.
The court went on the argue that it would be “counterintuitive” to assume that alcohol vendors would not want college students to purchase alcohol if they advertised in college newspapers since spending their money on advertisements in newspapers with relatively limited circulation, directed primarily at college students would more than likely lead to an increased demand by college students.
It appears the court is arguing that if alcohol ads were allowed in college newspapers, more college students would drink which could lead to an increase in drunk driving accidents. This is not a baseless assumption. In fact, 40 percent of alcohol-related car crash deaths involve people under the age of 21, according to learn-about-alcoholism.com.
I believe we need to do whatever we can to ensure fewer young people get into serious, life-altering car wrecks. If maintaining a ban on alcohol ads can keep a 19-year-old college kid from losing their life in an accident, then the ban was appropriately maintained by the court.