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United States v. Southwestern Cable Co.
United States Supreme Court
392 U.S. 157 (1968)
Congress tasked the Federal Communications Commission (the commission) (plaintiff) with promulgating regulations to ensure the fair, efficient, and equitable distribution of radio and television service across the country. The community antenna television (CATV) industry was growing rapidly. Southwestern Cable Co. (defendant) operated a CATV system in San Diego. Southwestern Cable was transmitting the signals of Los Angeles-based broadcasting stations into the San Diego market. Midwest Television owned and operated a station in San Diego. Midwest Television complained to the commission that Southwestern Cable’s transmissions adversely affected Midwest Television’s station, which was inconsistent with the public interest. The commission initiated proceedings against Southwestern Cable. The commission restricted Southwestern Cable’s expansion of service to new areas, pending a hearing on the merits of Midwest Television’s complaint. Southwestern Cable appealed the commission’s decision in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The appellate court held that the commission lacked authority to restrict Southwestern Cable’s expansion of service. The commission appealed to the United States Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Harlan, J.)
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