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Federal Communications Commission v. ITT World Communications, Inc.

United States Supreme Court
466 U.S. 463 (1984)


Three members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (defendants) met with their European and Canadian counterparts to facilitate the joint planning of telecommunications facilities through an exchange of information on regulatory policies. These three FCC employees constituted a quorum of the Telecommunications Committee, a subdivision of the FCC. They attended a series of conferences—referred to as the Consultative Process—with their international counterparts. The FCC added the topic of new carriers and service to the agenda of one of these conferences in an effort to persuade European nations to cooperate with its policy of encouraging competition in the telecommunications market. Along with other companies opposed to the entry of new competitors into this market, ITT World Communications, Inc. (plaintiffs) sued the FCC. Specifically, the plaintiffs argued that the Sunshine Act required the Consultative Process to be held in public. The FCC denied the petition, and the plaintiffs appealed. The court of appeals held that the FCC erred in concluding that the Sunshine Act did not apply to these meetings. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)

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