FCC v. LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF CALIFORNIA

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
82-912
Appellant 
League of Women Voters of California
Appellee 
Federal Communications Commission
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the appellant)
(Argued the cause for the appellees)
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Term:
Facts of the Case 

The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 allocated federal funds to noncommercial television and radio stations to support operations and educational programming. The act did not allow stations receiving money under the act to "engage in editorializing."

Question 

Did the ban on editorializing violate the First Amendment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for League of Women Voters of California, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: 47 U.S.C. 399

Yes. Even though the Commerce Clause gives Congress the power to regulate the broadcast medium, "since broadcasters are engaged in a vital and independent form of communicative activity," Congress must use the First Amendment to "inform and give shape" to its regulation. Justice Brennan argued that no legitimate government interest was served by the law which broadly banned all editorializing, a form of speech which "lies at the heart of First Amendment protection."

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FCC v. LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF CALIFORNIA. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 11 November 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1983/1983_82_912/>.
FCC v. LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF CALIFORNIA, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1983/1983_82_912/ (last visited November 11, 2014).
"FCC v. LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF CALIFORNIA," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed November 11, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1983/1983_82_912/.