Oct 05 2020

WASHINGTON, DC—The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear a potential landmark case on radio and television ownership rules. Womble Bond Dickinson Telecom attorney John Garziglia has been following the Prometheus IV case closely and has written a new headline article on the latest developments for Radio Ink (with helpful editing assistance from Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Marjorie Spivak).

On Oct. 2, the Supreme Court granted Certiorari in the FCC and National Association of Broadcaster’s petitions relating to the 3rd Circuit’s decision in Prometheus IV. The 3rd Circuit overturned the FCC’s loosening of media ownership rules, claiming the FCC’s actions would adversely impact women and minority ownership.

How the Supreme Court will ultimately decide is up in the air, but Garziglia offers several possible avenues for debate:

“It has been speculated by industry lawyers that the Supreme Court’s review may be about administrative law, or the decade-plus length of time the ownership rule changes have been held hostage by the 3rd Circuit, or the nuts and bolts of the FCC’s ownership rules.  Rather than any of these factors, however, it also may be that the Supreme Court ultimately focuses on the constitutionality of the FCC’s race- and gender-skewed policies in regulating broadcasting,” he writes.

“It has been speculated by industry lawyers that the Supreme Court’s review may be about administrative law, or the decade-plus length of time the ownership rule changes have been held hostage by the 3rd Circuit, or the nuts and bolts of the FCC’s ownership rules.  Rather than any of these factors, however, it also may be that the Supreme Court ultimately focuses on the constitutionality of the FCC’s race- and gender-skewed policies in regulating broadcasting."

John Garziglia

“The Supreme Court, with its now conservative lean, may view the 3rd Circuit’s decision refusing to allow an FCC ownership rule change almost solely due to a lack of solid data of the effect of the rule change on minority and female ownership as an opportunity to more broadly review the constitutionality of the FCC’s current race and gender based considerations.  A Supreme Court decision sharply curtailing the FCC’s ability to use race and gender considerations in formulating its policies could effect a sweeping change across numerous regulatory agencies and Federal government policymaking.” 

A Supreme Court decision sharply curtailing the FCC’s ability to use race and gender considerations in formulating its policies could effect a sweeping change across numerous regulatory agencies and Federal government policymaking.

John Garziglia

Click here to read, “Prometheus IV … III … II … I … Cert Granted!” by John Garziglia in Radio Ink

John Garziglia represents radio and television broadcasters, offering personalized assistance in all areas of communications and telecommunications law including transactional and contract negotiations for broadcast station mergers and acquisitions, the securing of financing, governmental auctions of new frequencies, license renewals, new stations applications, facility changes, facility upgrades, licensing, and compliance with FCC rules, regulations and policies.