Supreme Court Rules in Global Crossing, Two Other Cases

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The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a private company may sue a long distance carrier for failing to pay for calls made without coins from pay phones, scotusblog reports.

The 7-2 ruling (posted by scotusblog) reinforces the regulatory authority of the Federal Communications Commission, Associated Press reports.

Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the majority opinion that the FCC has the authority to determine that Global Crossing Telecommunications Inc. engaged in an unreasonable practice when it disobeyed an order to pay for the calls. Federal law bars “unjust and unlawful” practices.

Court watchers had been wondering in late March why the court had not yet ruled in the case, Global Crossing v. Metrophones, according to Bloomberg news.

Scotusblog also reports the court:

–Ruled in Watters v. Wachovia Bank (PDF posted by scotusblog) that federal rather than state banking law regulates mortgage lending by a state subsidiary of a national bank. The the Associated Press reports states and private groups such as AARP had argued a dual system of federal and state regulations would better serve consumers.

–Upheld a federal formula in Zuni School District v. Department of Education (PDF posted by scotusblog) for determining when a public school district can have its federal aid reduced by an offset in state financial aid. The formula affects school districts on military bases or those serving large numbers of American Indians. According to Howard Bashman of How Appealing, “This case provides another fascinating glimpse into the battle between the Court’s ‘plain language of the statute’ and ‘clear intent of the legislature’ factions.”

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