Multistate Bar Exam Questions

Question 1

A city enacted an ordinance banning from its public sidewalks all machines dispensing publications consisting wholly of commercial advertisements. The ordinance was enacted because of a concern about the adverse aesthetic effects of litter from publications distributed on the public sidewalks and streets. However, the city continued to allow machines dispensing other types of publications on the public sidewalks. As a result of the city’s ordinance, 30 of the 300 sidewalk machines that were dispensing publications in the city were removed.

Is the city’s ordinance constitutional?

(A) Yes, because regulations of commercial speech are subject only to the requirement that they be rationally related to a legitimate state goal, and that requirement is satisfied here.

(B) Yes, because the city has a compelling interest in protecting the aesthetics of its sidewalks and streets, and such a ban is necessary to vindicate this interest.

(C) No, because it does not constitute the least restrictive means with which to protect the aesthetics of the city’s sidewalks and streets.

(D) No, because there is not a reasonable fit between the legitimate interest of the city in preserving the aesthetics of its sidewalks and streets and the means it chose to advance that interest.

Question 2

A state legislature received complaints from accident victims who, in the days immediately following their accidents, had received unwelcome and occasionally misleading telephone calls on behalf of medical care providers. The callers warned of the risks of not obtaining prompt medical evaluation to detect injuries resulting from accidents and offered free examinations to determine whether the victims had suffered any injuries. In response to these complaints, the legislature enacted a law prohibiting medical care providers from soliciting any accident victim by telephone within 30 days of his or her accident.

Which of the following is the most useful argument for the state to use in defending the constitutionality of the law?

(A) Because the commercial speech that is the subject of this law includes some speech that is misleading, the First Amendment does not limit the power of the state to regulate that speech.

(B) Because the law regulates only commercial speech, the state need only demonstrate that the restriction is rationally related to achieving the state’s legitimate interests in protecting the privacy of accident victims and in regulating the medical profession.

(C) The state has substantial interests in protecting the privacy of accident victims and in regulating the practice of medical care providers, and the law is narrowly tailored to achieve the state’s objectives.

(D) The law is a reasonable time, place, and manner regulation.