Logourl black
From our private database of 14,000+ case briefs...

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. v. Public Utilities Commission of California

United States Supreme Court
475 U.S. 1 (1986)


Facts

The Pacific Gas & Electric Company (Pacific Gas) (plaintiff) included a periodical newsletter with its monthly bills to customers. In addition to general information about billing and utility services, the newsletter included political editorials, public interest stories, and energy conservation tips. The Public Utilities Commission of California (the Commission) (defendant) mandated that Pacific Gas allow an advocacy group called Toward Utility Rate Normalization (TURN) to include TURN’s content instead of the Pacific Gas newsletter at least four times a year. The Commission reasoned that the customers paid for the postage of the envelope, and thus, the additional space in the envelopes should be allocated between Pacific Gas and its consumers. The Commission did not place any restrictions on what content TURN could include and only required that TURN state views that were not those of Pacific Gas. The Commission did, however, reserve the right to decide which advocacy groups could include content in the future and deny groups based on the content of their speech. Pacific Gas sued, challenging the Commission’s regulation as an unconstitutional abridgement of Pacific Gas’s First Amendment rights.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • 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.).

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Concurrence (Marshall, J.)

The concurrence section is for members only and includes a summary of the concurring judge or justice’s opinion.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

The dissent section is for members only and includes a summary of the dissenting judge or justice’s opinion.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Dissent (Rehnquist, J.)

The dissent section is for members only and includes a summary of the dissenting judge or justice’s opinion.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 175,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.