Appeals court reverses judge on lobbyist ban

AP News
Posted: Jan 17, 2014 3:49 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court says a judge should reconsider a lawsuit challenging the Obama administration's 2009 ban on federally registered lobbyists serving on government advisory boards.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reinstated a lawsuit by six lobbyists who wanted to serve on the Industry Trade Advisory Committees, or ITAC.

A federal judge had dismissed the lawsuit.

Circuit Judge David Tatel says the dismissal was premature because the ban requires the lobbyists to limit their exercise of the First Amendment right to petition government — in order to qualify for a governmental benefit — in this case, ITAC membership.

A federal judge now must decide whether the government's desire to exclude lobbyists outweighs constitutional rights.