379 U.S. 893 (1964)

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U.S. Supreme Court


379 U.S. 893

Barry M. GOLDWATER, petitioner,
No. 636.

Supreme Court of the United States

October 28, 1964

Gerald D. Morgan, Arthur H. Schroeder, John B. Kenkel and John P. Bankson, Jr., for petitioner.

Petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied.

Dissenting opinion by Mr. Justice Goldberg from the denial of certiorari and application for expedited consideration, with whom Mr. Justice Black joins:

    'I would grant certiorari and the application of the petitioner to set the case for oral argument on Thursday, October 29, 1964.
    'in my view the question raised by the petition is substantial and warrants argument, which, in view of the imminence of the election, should be set for Thursday, if petitioner is to be given any practical relief before next Tuesday's election.
    'Section 315(a) of the Federal Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. 315(a), is as follows:
    "If any licensee shall permit any person who is a legally qualified candidate for any public office to use a broadcasting station, he shall afford equal opportunities to all other such candidates for that office in the use of such broadcasting station: Provided, that such licensee shall have no power of censorship

    Page 379 U.S. 893 , 894

    over the material broadcast under the provisions of this section. No obligation is imposed upon any licensee to allow the use of its station by any such candidate. Appearance by a legally qualified candidate on any--

    "(1) bona fide newscast,
    "(2) bona fide news interview,
    "(3) bona fide news documentary (if the appearance of the candidate is incidental to the presentation of the subject or subjects covered by the news documentary), or
    "(4) on-the-spot coverage of bona fide news events (including but not limited to political conventions and activities incidental thereto),

shall not be deemed to be use of a broadcasting station within the meaning of this subsection. Nothing in the foregoing sentence shall be construed as relieving broadcasters, in connection with the presentation of newscasts, news interviews, news documentaries, and on-the-spot coverage of news events, from the obligation imposed upon them under this chapter to operate in the public interest and to afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance.'

    'The statute on its face plainly requires that a licensee who permits any legally qualified candidate for any public office to use its broadcast facilities afford equal opportunities to all other qualified candidates. No exemption is made for a legally qualified candidate who is the incumbent President of the United States. The express exceptions to the broad scope of the statute for bona fide broadcasts, news interviews, news documentaries and on-the-spot coverage of bona fide news events do not [379 U.S. 893 , 895]

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