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EchoStar expressed disappointment with the Supreme Court's decision not to hear its appeal concerning rules governing satellite TV's delivery of distant network signals.

In April, EchoStar asked the Supreme Court to overturn a September 2001 ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to limit local affiliate networks to only areas surrounding their origination. In its challenge, EchoStar said it believes the law violates the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Without comment, the Supreme Court declined to hear the distant networks case.

EchoStar said in a statement: "We are disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear our request to protect the fundamental free speech right of all Americans to choose the television programming they want to watch. While every consumer in America has the right to purchase and read a newspaper printed outside the consumer's hometown, consumers are being prevented by an antiquated law from watching local news from other cities via satellite television."

The company said it always "tried to be realistic" about its chances of having the case heard, given that the court declines 99 percent of all appeals received by the panel. "Nonetheless, we are disappointed that consumer free speech rights have been dealt a blow with this decision," EchoStar said.

Broadcasters celebrated the decision. Dennis Wharton, spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters, said, "NAB is pleased the Supreme Court has refused to consider EchoStar's frivolous First Amendment challenge to the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act. The high court's action enhances the concept of localism in the delivery of free, over-the-air television."

From SkyReport (Used with Permission)
 

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Virtually all legal experts gave this issue no chance from the beginning. While I would like distant stations to be available, I have to wonder why E* pursued this approach. Either the legal team is inept or Charlie ignored its advice.
 

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Dish Network probably did not think it would be heard as well, in my opinion it was just another smoke and mirrors attempt to make them look like the crusaider for the consumer, which in turn makes them look better in the merger.
 

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I think they thought it was good PR and there was nothing to lose.

If they actually suceeded E* could make a little money as a "broker" between stations that would allow sales to distant subs & the subs that would pay for distant stations. It would have been an enticement for new subs as well.
 
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