On February 9, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held, in Halleck v. Manhattan Community Access Corp., that a public access channel administered by the Manhattan Community Access Corporation and three of its employees was a public forum. In doing so, the court determined that a complaint against Manhattan Community Access Corporation and those three employees sufficiently alleged state action. The legal status of public access channels has been unsettled since 1996, when the Supreme Court explicitly chose not to decide whether public access channels were public forums in Denver Area Educational Telecommunications Consortium v. FCC. This Comment argues that the Second Circuit correctly determined that the public access channels at issue in Halleck were public forums, while refraining from making a sweeping proclamation about all public access channels. This Comment further argues that such a broad categorization would be unwise since public access channels have differing characteristics, particularly in light of the fact that public access channels are negotiated between individual cable operators and franchising authorities.
Michael Molstad, Categorizing Wayne's World: The Public Forum Doctrine and Public Access Channels, 60 B.C.L. Rev. E. Supp. II.-1 (2019), https://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol60/iss9/1