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Court narrows communications enforcement

March 22, 2005 at 12:44 PM

WASHINGTON, March 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a California case an individual may not use federal civil rights law to enforce federal telecommunications restrictions.

The 1996 Telecommunications Act reduced the obstacles local governments may place on the installation of wireless facilities.

The City of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., denied Mark Abrams a permit to build a radio tower for wireless on his property. Abrams then filed suit seeking relief under the Telecommunications Act and damages under federal civil rights law.

A federal judge ordered the city to grant the permit under the Telecommunications Act, but refused damages under civil rights law. A federal appeals court reversed the latter part.

But the Supreme Court reversed the appeals court and sent the case back down for a new hearing. All the justices joined in the judgment or in the majority opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia.

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