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JEM Broadcasting Company, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
22 F.3d 320 (1994)


Facts

In 1985, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (defendant) adopted “hard look” regulations in anticipation of a flood of FM license applications. These regulations established a fixed filing period for all applications requesting the use of a particular FM channel. Applications filed within this period were be evaluated for “substantial completeness.” Those applications that met this standard were accepted for tender and those that did not were returned without an opportunity for the filing of a curative amendment. Additionally, under the hard look rules, if an application contained incorrect or inconsistent data, it was deemed unacceptable for tender and returned without an opportunity to amend. In 1988, JEM Broadcasting Company, Inc. (JEM) (plaintiff) filed a license application for a new FM station with the FCC. Upon finding geographic coordinates provided in the application to be inconsistent, the FCC dismissed the application without providing JEM an opportunity to correct its error. JEM argued that the hard look rules could not be used against it because the rules were promulgated without adhering to the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Edwards, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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