Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck - SCOTUSblog

Manhattan Community Access Corp v. Halleck was the only new case granted from today’s Supreme Court conference, the first conference in which Justice Kavanaugh participated. A full order list from that conference will be released on Monday at 9:30 am.

Issues : (1) Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals in the 2nd Circuit erred in rejecting the Supreme Court’s state actor tests and instead creating a per se rule that private operators of public access channels are state actors subject to constitutional liability; and (2) whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit erred in holding—contrary to the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 6th and District of Columbia Circuits—that private entities operating public access television stations are state actors for constitutional purposes where the state has no control over the private entity’s board or operations.

It is a low profile case, but with important First Amendment undertones. Glad to see the Supreme Court took up the case, which gives the opportunity to settle some points of law that have been percolating for two decades.

And we have a ruling in this case:

Holding : Petitioner, a private nonprofit corporation designated by New York City to operate the public access channels on the Manhattan cable system owned by Time Warner (now Charter), is not a state actor subject to the First Amendment.

Judgment : Reversed in part and remanded, 5-4, in an opinion by Justice Kavanaugh on June 17, 2019. Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Ginsburg, Breyer and Kagan joined.

I agree 100% with the outcome in this case.