SCOTUS Rules Unanimously In Facebook, FCC, Water Cases | Justices’ Struggle With “The Cartel That Runs College Sports”
April 2, 2021
YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND IN ME|
The Supreme Court Thursday sided with Facebook, ruling unanimously that the tech giant’s automated text alerts hadn’t violated the nation’s 30-year-old ban on robocalls. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act that was signed into law in the early nineties regulated devices that could store and dial phone numbers. JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR wrote in her opinion for the court, “Congress’ chosen definition of an autodialer requires that the equipment in question must use a random or sequential number generator. That definition excludes equipment like Facebook’s login notification system, which does not use such technology.”
THE LOGAN ROY SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM|
Also yesterday the Supreme Court unanimously ruled the FCC could start relaxing its rules that restrict single-company ownership of multiple media outlets — clearing the way for more industry consolidation. Republicans and the broadcast industry have been trying to relax ownership limits for decades. JUSTICE BRETT KAVANAUGH said in the court’s opinion that the FCC acted reasonably when it loosened three longstanding media-ownership restrictions. “The FCC considered the record evidence on competition, localism, viewpoint diversity, and minority and female ownership, and reasonably concluded that the three ownership rules no longer serve the public interest,” he said.
I'M STARTING WITH THE MAN IN THE MIRROR|
Jess Bravin with The Wall Street Journal reports on the Supreme Court’s decision in a long-running water dispute between Florida and Georgia. Yesterday, SCOTUS unanimously rejected “the Sunshine State’s claim that its northern neighbor had devastated its oyster industry by diverting more than its share of the Apalachicola River.” JUSTICE AMY CONEY BARRETT wrote for the court and suggested that rather than blame Georgia, Florida ought to take a good hard look in the mirror. “Florida’s mismanagement of its oyster fisheries” was as likely a cause, she wrote.
“If you have been eager to see the NCAA — the cartel that runs college sports, raking in billions of dollars a year on the backs of unpaid athletes — dragged through the coals for your amusement, Wednesday morning was the culmination of all you’ve been waiting for. The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case to decide whether the NCAA was, in its attempts to put a cap on education-related expenses paid to ‘student-athletes,’ violating antitrust law. And so, for about an hour or so, the justices just took turns rhetorically punching the NCAA in the face.” That’s Will Leitch holding nothing back in his NBC News opinion piece about the case before justices this week about education-related payments for college student-athletes. “There remains an inherent, perhaps unfixable, problem with college sports: They’re corrupt and wrong and inherently unjust. They are also very fun and people love watching them. I’ve never figured out how to hold both these concepts in my mind at the same time. It’s a relief, then, to see the Supreme Court of the United States have the same problem.”
THEN AND NOW|
In The Washington Post, Gillian Brockell recounts our nation’s history of vaccine refusal, going all the way back to America’s battle against the deadly smallpox virus. Vaccine refusers turned to the courts when they were fined for denying vaccinations amid an outbreak. But the Supreme Court handed down a 7-2 decision in 1905 that said public health could supersede individual rights. By the time SCOTUS made its decision the smallpox outbreak that initially spurred the court battle had died down, but as Brockell notes, “The anti-vaccine movement had only just begun.”