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FCC Top Lawyer Optimistic on Media-Ownership Review

FCC general counsel John Rogovin Tuesday voiced hope that the cacophony of lawsuits on both sides of the media-ownership debate will lead judges to grant FCC benefit of the doubt. "Nearly everybody has a dog in this fight and wants something different," he told the Media Institute.

Being the FCC’s top lawyer isn’t what it used to be, Rogovin lamented. Using court losses over previous media ownership limits and cable modem regulation as indicators, Rogovin said federal judges are less willing to defer to commissioners’ judgement when deciding lawsuits over agency decisions.

"The level of deference is not as robust as in what I call ‘the Good Ole Days.’ " During the first 40 years or so after passage of the 1934 Communications Act, courts accepted commission policy judgements that today would face higher hurdles, he said.