[opendtv] News: Justice Delays Firing at Prometheus

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: OpenDTV Mail List <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 09:22:18 -0500


Justice Delays Firing at Prometheus

By Bill McConnell -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/20/2004 4:21:00 PM

The Bush administration and the Federal Communications Commission 
have asked for more time to decide whether and how to ask the Supreme 
Court to uphold sweeping broadcast deregulation approved by the 
commission in 2003.

Monday, they asked the high court for more time to think it over.

Much of the deregulation was thrown out by a federal appeals court in 
June on a challenge by Prometheus Radio Project.

If the Supreme Court grants the extension, the federal government 
will have until Jan. 31 to file an appeal; otherwise the petition is 
due Jan. 3.

The FCC won't comment on the case and lawyers for the U.S. Solicitor 
General's office did not give the court specific reasons for seeking 
an extension.

However, the five commissioners recently completed a complicated and 
contentious rewrite of telephone rules and has had little time to 
focus on other major proceedings.

Media lawyers following the broadcast ownership case say the FCC has 
no clear path to a Supreme Court challenge and may be having trouble 
coming up with a rationale likely to succeed.

That's because the lower court's order to rewrite the broadcast rules 
does not meet the obvious criteria for winning an appeal hearing.

The order, handed down by the federal appeals court in Philadelphia 
does not conflict with any other court rulings and there are no 
constitutional arguments the FCC could make without putting a huge 
portion of its media regulation at risk of being overturned.

On the other hand, a number of high profile media companies wouldn't 
mind putting that huge portion at risk, recognizing that the case 
offers a long-shot chance of eliminating burdensome ownership rules 
and possibly other regulations. They have indicated that they will 
ask the court to strike down broadcast ownership regulation as 

In previous filings to the court, several broadcasters hinted they 
will ask the court to review whether its 1969 Red Lion decision 
upholding scarcity as a rationale for regulation, continues to apply.

The FCC, however, is unlikely to sign on to such a sweeping challenge 
because striking down Red Lion could jeopardize other broadcast 
regulation, such as indecency restrictions and children's programming 
You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways:

- Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at 

- By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word 
unsubscribe in the subject line.

Other related posts:

  • » [opendtv] News: Justice Delays Firing at Prometheus