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Fed may drop FCC recruiting fight

Civil rights groups will go it alone in asking the Supreme Court to reinstate the FCC's equal opportunity recruiting requirements if the federal government drops its fight to preserve the rules.

Petitions for the Supreme Court Review are now due Oct. 17 after the Justice Department and the FCC asked for an extension of time to file a request. The request for an extension heartened David Honig, executive director of the Minority Media Telecommunications Council and the lawyer for 36 groups planning to seek a high court review.

Earlier this year DOJ and the FCC tentatively concluded in court documents that they didn't feel the case to preserve the rules was important enough for a Supreme Court review. The request for an extension indicated they were still mulling a petition for review, Honig said.

FCC officials Wednesday would not comment on chances for a government petition.

In January the federal appeals court in Washington threw out the FCC's new minority and gender recruiting rules, which gave broadcasters the pick of two recruiting options. The court found one option to be and defacto, unconstitutional quota because it would have required stations cable systems to collect data showing that self-designed programs were demographically broad.
- Bill McConnell