U.S. Chamber of Congress files friend of the court brief with U.S. Court of Appeals, says government has no authority to use space on a seller's packaging to persuade consumers not to buy tobacco products

RICHMOND, Virginia , January 31, 2012 () – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is weighing in on a lawsuit over federal graphic cigarette warning labels that include the sewn-up corpse of a smoker.

The pro-business lobbying group filed a friend of the court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington late Monday. It says the government has no legitimate authority to take space on a seller's packaging or advertising to persuade consumers not to buy the product.

Some of the largest U.S. tobacco companies are challenging the Food and Drug Administration's plan to require the new labels be placed on cigarette packs.

A U.S. District Court judge in November blocked the labels while deciding whether they violate the companies' free speech rights. The FDA has appealed that decision and oral arguments are set for April.

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