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Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck

United States Supreme Court
139 S. Ct. 1921 (2019)

Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck


The Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 requires cable operators to reserve channels for public access. New York law mandates free public-access channels on a first-come, first-serve basis operated by cable operators, unless local governments operate the channels themselves or designate private entities to do so. Time Warner operates Manhattan’s cable system and reserves public-access channels in accordance with New York law. New York City designated Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN), a private entity run by Manhattan Community Access Corporation (MCAC) (codefendants), to operate the public-access channels in Manhattan. MNN producers Deedee Halleck and Jesus Papoleto Melendez (plaintiffs) made a controversial film alleging MNN neglected East Harlem communities. After MNN suspended Halleck and Melendez, they sued MNN and MCAC, alleging that blocking them from using public-access channels because of the film’s content violated their First Amendment free-speech rights. The trial court dismissed the suit, reasoning that MNN was not a state actor and therefore not subject to First Amendment protections. But the Second Circuit reversed in part, concluding that MNN was a state actor. The United States Supreme Court granted review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kavanaugh, J.)

Dissent (Sotomayor, J.)

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