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Argued April 20, 2001

On Petitions for Review of an Order of the Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission exempts noncommercial educational entities from participating in auctions for broadcast licenses when they apply for channels within the portion of the spectrum reserved for them, but not when they apply for channels in the unreserved spectrum. In this case, noncommercial educational broadcasters challenge the Commission’s policy, arguing that the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 requires the Commission to exempt them from participating in auctions for any channel, reserved or unreserved, and that the Commission’s adoption of this policy was arbitrary and capricious. Finding the Commission’s refusal to exempt such broadcasters from auctions for unreserved channels contrary to the Act’s plain language, we vacate the offending portions of the Commission’s order.

 
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