Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission Page 2

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission general information

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Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 12, 1994 in Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 27, 1994 in Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission

Anthony M. Kennedy:

The government asserts that the must carry rules were designed to promote three interests: To preserve the benefits of free broadcast television, to promote the wide spread dissemination of information from a multiplicity of sources, and to promote fair competition in the market for television programing viewed in the abstract.

We have no difficulty concluding that each of these governmental interest is important, that the asserted interest are important in the abstract does not mean, however that the must carry provisions will in fact advance those interests.

When the government defends a regulation on speech as a remedy for past or anticipated harms, the government must demonstrate that the recited harms are real, not merely conjectural and that the regulation will in fact alleviate these harms without burdening substantially more speech than necessary to do so.

Because there is insufficient evidence in this record to indicate that broadcast television is in genuine jeopardy and because there remain unresolved issues of material fact considering the extent to which the must carry rules will curtail the speech of cable programers in the availability of less speech restrictive means to accomplish the government's asserted interest, we hold that the District Court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the United States.

Because of the end result facial questions, the important of the issues the broadcast and cable industries and the conflicting conclusions of the parties contended to be drawn from the statistics and other evidence presented, we think it necessary to permit the parties to develop a more thorough factual record and to allow the District Court to resolve any factual disputes remaining before passing upon the constitutional validity of the challenged provisions.

The judgment below is vacated and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Justice Blackmun has filed a concurring opinion; Justice Stevens has filed a concurring opinion.

He expresses substantial agreement with the Court's analysis and, though, favoring the affirmance concurs in the judgment so that there will be a majority for the disposition of the case.

Justice O'Connor has filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part in which Justices Scalia and Ginsburg joined and in which Justice Thomas joins in part, and Justice Ginsburg has filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.