I would oppose this nomination based on misconduct I observed
during my appeal of William Huston vs. Time Warner Ent., et. al.
I will be sending my thoughts on the nomination to my Congressman,
Senators, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Alliance for Community Media.
My case against Time Warner was about Public Access TV. NY State law
say cable providers must supply public access channel capacity AND
"facilities and equipment necessary to use the channel capacity".
Television is a medium of sound and light, so in order to make
TV shows, somewhere a camera and microphone seem necessary.
Time Warner only provides a video playback deck.
I raised two federal claims, one under the First Amendment, and
one under 47 U. S. C. § 531, "editorial control".
In 04-2282-CV judges Sonia Sotomayor, Reena Raggi, and Peter W. Hall
were each on my panel at the 2nd Circuit, appealing Civil No: 3:03-CV-0633
in the Northern District Court of NY.
In the lower courts decision, Justice Thomas J. McAvoy committed
several errors which would be clear to even a first-year law student.
He cited dicta, unpublished decisions, published decisions from
non-controlling foreign circuits, and caselaw which was factually
different from the instant case.
My First Amendment claim hinged in the determination of whether
the operator of a Public Access TV channel -- already determined to be
a First Amendment public forum according to "Denver-Area" case
and many others -- was a state actor. The case central to granting
the defendant Time Warner's motion for dismissal was Loce v. Time Warner
Entertainment Advance/ Newhouse P'ship, 191 F. 3d 256, 266 (2d Cir. 1999),
which is about LEASED ACCESS, which has quite a different character
from public access, and likely has different First Amendment characteristics
The state creates public access television, but the courts decide the administrator is not considered a state actor???? Wha...? Some slight of hand there...
Further, I developed an argument that ALL corporations are state actors, due to the
state-charter and state regulation, etc. which the lower court silently ignored.
During my 5 min. or oral arguments -- pro se litigants are
already penalized... fully represented cases get 10min/each --
Justice Sotomayor interrupted my statement about the errors committed
by the lower court (which is an appropriate matter for an appellate court),
and wasted my time by asking me a question about the merits of my case
(which is appropriate for the District court, but not for the appellate).
Sotomayor interrupted me and asked, "Why do you want the State of NY
to pay for your television productions?"
HUH? Where did that come from? Had she done any research?
Does she understand what public access is? I was so blind-sided
by this question, that I babbled away the remainder of my time.
But once again, this question is appropriate for the
District Court, but NOT for an Appellate Court, which should
restrict itself to a discussion of the errors of the lower court.
There were significant errors to require remand to the lower court,
but instead Judges Sotomayor, Raggi, and Hall upheld.
I've read some commentators who said Justice Sotomayor is "extremely liberal" (e.g., as has been reported said by Sen. Orrin Hatch) . But before saying Justice Sotomayor is "extremely liberal", please understand she squandered an opportunity to be part of review of one of the worst SCOTUS decisions in modern history, Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad, where corporations were granted the legal rights of persons.
I did not get a fair chance to have my arguments heard by a jury. These
appellate judges are clearly very intelligent and know the rules of their
own court. Why would Sotomayor et. al. side with a bad decision, and
refuse to hear my discussion of these errors, while clearly wasting my
5 min. of oral arguments with an inappropriate discussion -- a distraction?
I'm not sure the mechanism of influence, but this panel was clearly corrupt.
I will send documentation about my case to any concerned party.
William A. Huston
Email: WilliamAHuston at gmail