Tuesday, June 28, 2011

UPDATE: High Court Next Term Will Decide if FCC Indecency Rules Pass 1st Amendment Muster

Logo of the United States Federal Communicatio...Image via WikipediaSurf's Up as the U.S. Supreme Court just wrapped up the current term, but the High Court already has announced next term it will hear FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc. (Case No. 10-1293), addressing two rulings by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that held the Federal Communications Commission's indecency rules governing "fleeting expletives" and "fleeting nudity" violate the First Amendment.

As reported frequently by this blog (see "TUOL" posts 4/22/11, 1/5/11, 8/30/10), the cases center on the FCC 2004 fleeting expletives rule and a 2001 policy involving profanity and nudity on broadcast television during the hours from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. when it is believed children may be viewing.  The Second Circuit held the FCC rules constitutionally vague and unenforceable, while broadcasters argue they are a relic in an age in which such content is widely available on the Internet and cable tv and chill speech by preventing the airing of valued programming, such as the film "Saving Private Ryan," that is replete with four-letter words.

The Obama Administration believes the Second Circuit rulings prevent the FCC from carrying out its mandated duties of regulating the airwaves by enforcing statutory restrictions on broadcast indecency.  The High Court in a 5-4 ruling has said the FCC indecency rules do not violate the Adminstrative Procedure Act, but will focus on the First Amendment aspect of the rules next Fall.

"TUOL" can't f***** wait for the case to be argued.

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