No-Call: On Hold

For loony public spectacle, the on-again-off-again effort to shield Americans from unwanted telemarketing pitches rivals the California recall. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) expected to activate its do-not-call list, which is up to 50 million phone numbers, on Oct. 1. But on Tuesday an Oklahoma federal judge said the FTC lacked such authority. Politicians heard the ringing in their ears. By Thursday--faster than any bill had cleared the Capitol since the 1941 declaration of war on Japan--Congress empowered the FTC to deploy its list.

Minutes after the Senate voted, however, a second federal judge, in Denver, ruled that the no-call registry...

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