U.S. Supreme Court's Alito ends recusal in Aereo TV case
WASHINGTON, April 16
WASHINGTON, April 16 (Reuters) - Justice Samuel Alito is no longer recusing himself from two upcoming U.S. Supreme Court business cases, including a challenge by broadcast networks to online TV startup Aereo Inc.
In two online docket entries that were updated on Wednesday, the court said Alito would allow himself to participate in the Aereo case and a product-labeling dispute brought against Coca-Cola Co by fellow beverage-maker POM Wonderful LLC.
The court does not comment on why justices disqualify themselves from certain cases. Often the justices do so because they own stock in one or more parties.
In the Aereo case, Walt Disney Co's ABC network, CBS Broadcasting Inc, Comcast Corp's NBCUniversal and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc appealed a decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in April 2013 that denied their request to shut Aereo down while litigation moves forward.
The networks sued Aereo for copyright infringement in 2012 for streaming their broadcast signals over Web-enabled devices for a monthly fee.
Alito's involvement in the Aereo case means all nine justices will be involved. There is no longer any prospect of a 4-4 split decision that would leave the lower court rulings intact and provide no definitive court precedent.
Justice Stephen Breyer remains recused in the POM Wonderful case, according to the court docket.
A one-hour oral argument concerning Aereo, which is backed by Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp, will be on Tuesday. The POM Wonderful case will be argued on Monday.
The cases are ABC v. Aereo, 13-461 and POM Wonderful v. Coca Cola Co, 12-761. (Reporting by Lawrence Hurley and David Ingram; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Steve Orlofsky)