United States v. Midwest Video Corp.,
406 U.S. 649 (1972)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Midwest Video Corp., 406 U.S. 649 (1972)

United States v. Midwest Video Corp.

No. 71-506

Argued April 19, 1972

Decided June 7, 1972

406 U.S. 649


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) promulgated a rule that

"no CATV system having 3,500 or more subscribers shall carry the signal of any television broadcast station unless the system also operates to a significant extent as a local outlet by cablecasting [i.e., originating programs] and has available facilities for local production and presentation of programs other than automated services."

Upon challenge of respondent, an operator of CATV systems subject to the new requirement, the Court of Appeals set aside the regulation on the ground that the FCC had no authority to issue it.

Held: The judgment is reversed. Pp. 659-675.

441 F.2d 1322, reversed.


1. The rule is within the FCC's statutory authority to regulate CATV at least to the extent "reasonably ancillary to the effective performance of the Commission's various responsibilities for the regulation of television broadcasting," United States v. Southwestern Cable Co., 392 U. S. 157, 392 U. S. 178. Pp. 406 U. S. 659-670.

2. In the light of the record in this case, there is substantial evidence that the rule, with its 3,500 standard and as it is applied under FCC guidelines for waiver on a showing of financial hardship, will promote the public interest within the meaning of the Communications Act of 1934. Pp. 406 U. S. 671-675.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE concluded that, until Congress acts to deal with the problems brought about by the emergence of CATV, the FCC should be allowed wide latitude. Pp. 406 U. S. 675-676.

BRENNAN, J., announced the Court's judgment and delivered an opinion in which WHITE, MARSHALL, and BLACKMUN, JJ., joined. BURGER, C.J., filed an opinion concurring in the result, post, p. 406 U. S. 675. DOUGLAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which STEWART, POWELL, and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined, post, p. 406 U. S. 677.

Page 406 U. S. 650

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