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Feds Delay Ownership Rule Response

The government, and everyone else, has gotten an extra month to register their opposition to Supreme Court hearing of a challenge to the appeals court's remand of FCC media ownership rules (Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC).

Petitions in opposition, which had been due April 1, are now due May 1, after the Justice Department asked for an extension. One observer suggested that Justice may have had its hands full preparing to argue both the Grokster and Brand X cases before the Supreme Court last week.

Media Access Project, which won the remand from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, had been preparing to file its petition when it got a call Thursday that it would have another month, according MAP President Andrew J. Schwartzman.

Earlier extensions have already pushed a potential hearing date to next fall, though Schwartzman and others doubt the High Court will take the case.

Petitions are now due May 1.

Broadcasters have challenged the appeal's court's finding that the FCC had not sufficiently justified its deregulatory rules changes.

In their petitions for certiorari (arguments for why the Supremes should take the case), some broadcasters have called into question the underpinnings of the FCC's regulatory authority by challenging the scarcity rationale for broadcast regulation.

The FCC's Republican majority and the administration had backed the deregulatory changes, but the government is not eager for a referendum on the FCC's regulatory powers.