Thought Experiment: Would Congressional Short Bill Titles Survive FTC Scrutiny?

26 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2013  

Brian Christopher Jones

University of Dundee

Randal M. Shaheen

Harvard University - Law School - Alumni

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Many of those close to the Congressional legislative process seem to view the short titles of bills as “branding” rather than official legal instruments. In fact, this may be one of the reasons that some short titles for bills and laws have become tendentious and overly aspirational. This is problematic for such titles, as they are formally recognized by their inscription into federal law, and thus transcend their “branding” purposes, thereby putting the legal status of short titles in an awkward juxtaposition. By stripping away all of the current legal barriers that would technically negate such a prospect, this Article considers whether contemporary short bill titles would pass the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC”) deceptive practice scrutiny. Relying on three main pieces of evidence (the FTC Policy Statement on Deception, the FTC Enforcement Policy Statement on Food Advertising, and the landmark Kraft, Inc. v. FTC decision), this Article demonstrates that many congressional short titles do employ deceptive advertising practices and would be actionable under FTC standards.

Keywords: short titles, bills, drafting, FTC, deceptive advertising, deceptive practices, drafting standards

Suggested Citation

Jones, Brian Christopher and Shaheen, Randal M., Thought Experiment: Would Congressional Short Bill Titles Survive FTC Scrutiny? (2012). Seton Hall Legislative Journal, Vol. 37, No. 1, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2197644

Brian Christopher Jones (Contact Author)

University of Dundee ( email )

Nethergate
Dundee, Scotland DD1 4HN
United Kingdom

Randal M. Shaheen

Harvard University - Law School - Alumni

5163 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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