By Harold Furchtgott-Roth
The writer, who served as one of many 5 commissioners of the Federal Communications fee for numerous years, explains why this and different govt businesses that aren't organize with separation of powers in brain turn out undermining the rule of thumb of legislations.
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Additional resources for A Tough Act to Follow?: The Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the Separation of Powers Failure
Congress rewrote many of the cable provisions of the Communications Act, giving far more flexibility to the cable industry and removing most forms of price regulation. THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1996 33 • The “public interest” problem. Congress did not specifically address the “public interest” problem. Indeed, Congress added the phrase many times to new statutory language. Perhaps it thought that the FCC, with enough specific new instructions, would not need to rely on the “public interest” standard.
The FCC, perhaps having doubts about the efficacy of these federal agencies, or wanting to replicate their work, or preferring a new means of imposing its own policy designs, took upon itself the task of reviewing acquisitions in the communications sector. Ironically, the FTC and DOJ go to great lengths to avoid reviewing the same case, both to conserve resources and to prevent a form of double jeopardy under federal antitrust law. Yet the FCC has long engaged in this duplicative process—wasting resources and subjecting private parties to a form of double jeopardy—partly in order to encourage private industry to fulfill the agency’s own policy agenda.
He was implicitly saying that entities and individuals harmed by the FCC had little opportunity to redress those wrongs through the court system. Sixty-five years later, Justice Frankfurter’s words are remarkably current. The same words that offer little or no hope in legal remedies to individuals harmed by an administrative agency merely serve to embolden the agency. Iowa Utilities Board Sanctions FCC Discretion as Residual from the Communications Act of 1934 From the outset of implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the FCC believed it had substantial discretion to interpret laws, even to promote specific social policies not directly found in statute.
A Tough Act to Follow?: The Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the Separation of Powers Failure by Harold Furchtgott-Roth