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Supreme Court hears FCC, anti-dumping, habeas corpus cases

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] Tuesday in three cases. In FCC v. Fox Television Stations [oral arguments transcript, PDF; merit briefs], the court will consider whether the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] acted arbitrarily and capriciously in changing its policy regarding fines for the broadcast of isolated expletives. In 2004 the FCC changed its longstanding policy, saying that it would no longer permit the use of isolated expletives on the air. The FCC issued a 2006 order stressing the ban on such one-time violations. Fox Television Stations, along with other broadcasters, brought a petition for review of the FCC order before the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which ruled [opinion, PDF] that the new policy was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act [text] for failing to articulate a reasoned basis for its change in policy, vacating the FCC order.

The Supreme Court also heard arguments in the case of United States v. Eurodif [oral arguments transcript, PDF; merit briefs] and USEC v. Eurodif, in which the Court will consider whether certain imports of enriched uranium are subject to federal anti-dumping laws. Eurodif [corporate website, in French] and USEC [corporate website] both enrich uranium, in France and in the US, respectively. Under 19 U.S.C. § 1673 [text], the Commerce Department [official website] can impose duties on imports of foreign merchandise when that merchandise is being sold in the US at less than its fair value, a practice known as dumping. The key issue is whether uranium enrichment should be regarded as a sale of goods, which is subject to the anti-dumping laws, or a sale of services, which is not. When USEC filed a complaint with the Commerce Department, the department found that there was a sale of goods, subject to anti-dumping laws, and the Court of International Trade (CIT) reversed. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed [US v. Eurodif; USEC v. Eurodif] the CIT's decision.

Finally, the Court heard arguments Tuesday in the case of Jimenez v. Quarterman [oral arguments transcript, PDF; merit briefs], in which the Court will consider whether the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit correctly denied an appeal by an inmate seeking an extension to file a federal habeas corpus challenge, after he had been denied review in state courts. Carlos Jimenez pleaded guilty to felony burglary and habitation charges and was sentenced to 43 years in prison. The US District Court for the Northern District of Texas dismissed his habeas petition with prejudice as barred by the statute of limitations. The circuit court denied [order, PDF] his request for a certificate of appealability, finding that his petition was time barred.

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