Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


Ann E. Rendahl


In California v. FCC, the Ninth Circuit invalidated the FCC's Computer III Order, a regulatory scheme that changed the method of regulating enhanced services. This Note evaluates the FCC's Computer III Order, focusing on the history of the computer inquiries and the ensuing policy debate between the FCC and state regulatory commissions. The Note analyzes the case law concerning the FCC's preemptive power under the Communications Act of 1934, including the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Louisiana Public Service Commission and succeeding court of appeal decisions. The author describes the parties' arguments in California v. FCC, explains the Ninth Circuit's decision, and concludes that the court correctly upheld California's authority to regulate intrastate telecommunications'services. The Note recommends that Congress amend the Communications Act to require the FCC and the states to engage in negotiated rulemaking when adopting regulations that affect both interstate and intrastate telecommunications services. The author believes that such a process may reduce reliance on courts in resolving disputes over policy.