Full Supreme Court to Hear Aereo Challenge

The Supreme Court will have a full bench when it hears oral argument in the Aereo case April 22.

According to a one-line note in the docket (reported on scotusblog.com), "Justice Alito is no longer recused in this case."

Justice Samuel Alito had not been participating, and took no part in the court's decision to hear the appeal, presumably because he had some financial interest in one or the other company, though the Justices don't have to say why they are recusing or unrecusing themselves.

Alito's return could be good news. One veteran attorney who has argued before the court pointed out that if there is a 4-4 tie, that would leave the status quo, which was the Second Circuit’s refusal to block Aereo's TV station delivery service while a court decided the underlying merits of whether it violated copyright, as broadcasters had claimed in suing Aereo.

Now it will take five votes, not four, to leave the Second Circuit decision in place.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.