Administrative Law—Hobbs Act

PDR Network, LLC v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic, Inc., No. 17-1705

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) prohibits the use of a fax machine to send an “unsolicited advertisement.” In 2006, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) promulgated a rule interpreting “unsolicited advertisement” to include faxes that promote goods or services “even at no cost, such as free magazine subscriptions.” In 2013, petitioner PDR Network, LLC, sent faxes to promote a free e-book version of the Physicians’ Desk Reference. TCPA litigation ensued. Applying Chevron, the district court refused to defer to the FCC’s rule and dismissed the complaint. The Fourth Circuit reversed, holding that the district court lacked jurisdiction to determine the validity of the FCC’s rule under the Hobbs Act, which gives the courts of appeals exclusive jurisdiction to review final orders from certain agencies, including the FCC. The Supreme Court today granted certiorari to decide whether the Hobbs Act required the district court to accept the FCC’s legal interpretation of the TCPA.