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Justice Alito will participate in Aereo case, ending concerns of a tie

Justice Alito will participate in Aereo case, ending concerns of a tie
Broadcasters and Aereo will duke it out at the Supreme Court. (AFP/Getty Images)

There will be no tie in the Supreme Court battle of Aereo vs. the broadcasters.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito, who previously had recused himself from participating in the case, will take part in it after all, according to SCOTUS Blog, which tracks the Supreme Court. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for next week.

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Alito had given no reason for recusing himself from the case, but one possible reason is that a justice or his family has stock in some of the companies involved in the dispute.

Launched in 2012, Aereo is a start-up company that transmits the signals of local TV stations to consumers via the Internet. The service comes with a cloud-based digital video recorder that holds up to 60 hours of content and costs $8 to $12 a month. Media mogul Barry Diller is a backer of Aereo.

Broadcasters charge that Aereo is illegally stealing their signals and violating copyright laws. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York sided with Aereo and it is that decision that the broadcasters are seeking to have overturned by the high court.

If Alito had stayed off the bench for this battle and there was a tie, it would have been the same as a loss for broadcasters because the lower court decision would have stayed in place.

For the record: An earlier version of this post referred to Justice Samuel A. Alito as Thomas Alito.

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Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.

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