Supreme Court sides with company in cell tower dispute

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court sided with cellphone providers over municipal governments Wednesday in a dispute over the siting of cell towers.

In an unusual 6-3 split, the court’s majority said that under the Telecommunications Act, local governments must provide reasons for denying a cell tower application around the time of the denial. In this case, the city of Roswell, Ga., notified T-Mobile South 26 days later, leaving only four days to challenge the denial in court.

The opinion was written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the dissent, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas.

“A locality cannot stymie or burden the judicial review contemplated by the statute by delaying the release of its reasons for a substantial time after it conveys its written denial,” Sotomayor said.


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