Is There a Requirement of Finding the Legislative Purpose Behind An Enactment ?

In Bolger v. Youngs Drug Prods. Corp. (463 US 60 [1983]), the Court considered a Federal statute that prohibited the mailing of unsolicited advertisements for contraceptives. In arguing that the Government's interest in prohibiting such mailings was a substantial one under Central Hudson, the Government did not rely on the justifications for the statute that were offered during its passage in 1873. Instead, it "advance[d] interests that concededly were not asserted when the prohibition was enacted into law." (463 US, at 71.) Rather than rejecting the post hoc rationalization for the restriction, the Court held that the Government's reliance on newly advanced purposes was "permissible since the insufficiency of the original motivation does not diminish other interests that the restriction may now serve." (Supra, at 71 [citing cases].) Since that time, it appears that in at least several instances the Court has relied on assertions made during the course of the litigation by the parties to supply the legislative purpose behind the enactment at issue. (See, e.g., Edenfield v. Fane, 507 US 761 [1993] [statement of purpose contained in affidavits filed during the course of litigation]; Greater New Orleans Broadcasting Assn. v. United States, 527 US, supra, at 185, 186, n 4 [Government briefs used to identify the governmental interest].) The absence of any requirement of legislative findings is hardly surprising given that the Supreme Court made no judicial inquiry into enactments restricting commercial speech until its Virginia State Bd. decision (supra) in 1976.