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Appeals Opinion in Comcast v. FCC

Appeals Opinion in Comcast v. FCC

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Published by: DealBook on Aug 28, 2009
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11/07/2012

 
 
United States Court of Appeals
 
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT
 Argued April 24, 2009 Decided August 28, 2009 No. 08-1114C
OMCAST
C
ORPORATION
,P
ETITIONER 
  N
ATIONAL
C
ABLE
&
 
T
ELECOMMUNICATIONS
A
SSOCIATION ETAL
.,I
 NTERVENORS
 v.F
EDERAL
C
OMMUNICATIONS
C
OMMISSION AND
U
 NITED
S
TATES OF
A
MERICA
,
ESPONDENTS
 CCTV
 
C
ENTER FOR 
M
EDIA
&
 
D
EMOCRACY ET AL
.,I
 NTERVENORS
 On Petition for Review of an Order of the Federal Communications Commission
Miguel A. Estrada
argued the cause for petitioner. Withhim on the briefs were
Theodore B. Olson
,
 David Debold 
,
Tyler R. Green
,
 Helgi C. Walker 
,
 Eve Klindera Reed 
,
 Arthur  J. Burke
, and
 David P. Murray
.
Case: 08-1114 Document: 1203454 Filed: 08/28/2009 Page: 1
 
2
Mark D. Schneider 
argued the cause for intervenors National Cable & Telecommunications Association et al. insupport of petitioner. With him on the briefs were
Michelle A. Groman
,
 Bruce Douglas Sokler 
,
 Robert G. Kidwell 
,
 Howard J. Symons
,
 Daniel L. Brenner 
,
 Neal M. Goldberg 
,
Michael S. Schooler 
,
 Henk J. Brands
,
Wesley R. Heppler 
, and
 Robert G. Scott, Jr.Michael E. Glover 
,
 Edward Shakin
,
William H. Johnson
,
 Patrick F. Philbin
, and
Gregory L. Skidmore
were on the brief for 
amicus curiae
Verizon Communications, Inc. insupport of petitioner.
W. Kenneth Ferree
was on the brief for 
amicus curiae
theProgress & Freedom Foundation
 
in support of petitioner.
  James M. Carr 
, Counsel, Federal CommunicationsCommission, argued the cause for respondent. With him onthe brief were
 Deborah A. Garza
, Acting Assistant AttorneyGeneral,
Catherine G. O’Sullivan
and
 Robert J. Wiggers
,Attorneys,
Matthew B. Berry
, General Counsel, FederalCommunications Commission,
 Joseph R. Palmore
, DeputyGeneral Counsel,
 Richard K. Welch
, Deputy AssociateGeneral Counsel, and
 Joel Marcus
, Counsel.
 Daniel M. Armstrong 
, Associate General Counsel, entered anappearance.
 Andrew J. Schwartzman
argued the cause for intervenorsCCTV Center for Media & Democracy et al. in support of respondent. With him on the brief was
 Harold Feld 
.Before: G
INSBURG
and K 
AVANAUGH
,
Circuit Judges
, and
ANDOLPH
,
Senior Circuit Judge
.
Case: 08-1114 Document: 1203454 Filed: 08/28/2009 Page: 2
 
3Opinion for the Court filed by
Circuit Judge
G
INSBURG
.Separate opinion concurring except as to Part II.C filed by
Senior Circuit Judge
ANDOLPH
.G
INSBURG
,
Circuit Judge
: Comcast Corporation andseveral intervenors involved in the cable television industry petition for review of a rule in which the FederalCommunications Commission capped at 30% of allsubscribers the market share any single cable televisionoperator may serve. We agree with Comcast that the 30%subscriber limit is arbitrary and capricious. We thereforegrant the petition and vacate the Rule.I. BackgroundThe Cable Television Consumer Protection andCompetition Act of 1992 directed the FCC, “[i]n order toenhance effective competition,” 47 U.S.C. § 533(f)(1), to prescrib[e] rules and regulations ... [to] ensurethat no cable operator or group of cableoperators can unfairly impede, either becauseof the size of any individual operator or  because of joint actions by a group of operators of sufficient size, the flow of video programming from the video programmer tothe consumer.
 Id.
§ 533(f)(2)(A). The Commission is to “make such rulesand regulations reflect the dynamic nature of thecommunications marketplace.”
 Id.
§ 533(f)(2)(E).Several cable operators immediately challenged certain provisions of the Act, in particular arguing the subscriber 
Case: 08-1114 Document: 1203454 Filed: 08/28/2009 Page: 3

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