Friday, November 1, 2013

United States v. Storer Broadcasting Co. case brief

United States v. Storer Broadcasting Co. case brief summary
351 U.S. 192 (1956)

Petitioner, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission), issued a notice that it planned to amend its multiple ownership rules. Respondent broadcast licensee filed an objection. The Commission amended the rules. The broadcast licensee sought review.

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck out wording in the rules and remanded to the Commission. Petitioner government and the Commission sought certiorari.

The Commission asserted that its power to make regulations gave it the authority to limit concentration of broadcast stations under a single control. The broadcast licensee urged that an application could not be rejected under 47 U.S.C.S. § 309(b) without a "full hearing."

  • The court agreed with the broadcast licensee that a "full hearing" under § 309(b) meant that every party shall have the right to present his case or defense by oral or documentary evidence, to submit rebuttal evidence, and to conduct cross-examination for a full and true disclosure of the facts. 
  • However, the requirement did not withdraw the Commission's rulemaking authority necessary for the orderly conduct of its business. 
  • The challenged rules contained limitations against licensing not specifically authorized by statute, but that was not the limit of the Commission's rulemaking authority. 47 U.S.C.S. §§ 154(i), 303(r) granted general rulemaking power to the Commission. 
  • Thus, 47 U.S.C.S. § 309(b) did not bar rules that declared a present intent to limit the number of stations consistent with a permissible "concentration of control."


The court reversed the judgment that held that a full hearing was required and remanded the case to the appellate court for consideration of the broadcast licensee's other objections to the Commission's Multiple Ownership Rules.

Recommended Supplements for Administrative Law Examples & Explanations: Administrative Law, Fourth Edition
Administrative Law and Process: In a Nutshell (Nutshell Series)

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