Let’s turn our attention towards the US Supreme Court for a sec.
Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with the Fantasy Supreme Court Justice pool I’m running.
Instead, I’ll bore you with one of the current cases being made in front of the Court.
I am of course talking about possibly one the biggest FCC case ever: FOX v. FCC.
It’s the first time in 30 years that the Supreme Court is reviewing broadcasting indecency standards.
The case deals with swearing on live TV:
In March of 06, the FCC fined FOX for Cher and Nicole Richie saying “shit” and “fucking” during the 02 & 03 Billboard Music Awards, all due to a “new” FCC policy that allowed penalization even if the expletive is made only once, and live.
The case worked its way up to the Supreme Court and on Tuesday were heard the oral arguments for the case.
And, no, no one said “shit” or “fucking”.
They did use cute euphemisms however, such as “the s-word” and “the f-word”.
3 Justices out of the 7 appear for now neutral, while 2 seemed to be leaning towards the FCC and the other 2 towards FOX.
If the case ultimately goes towards FOX, the prior “expletive case” in 1978 (following the George Carlin monologue) could be overturned and the win could severely diminish FCC’s role in policing the airwaves.
But on the other hand, if the FCC wins, it would validate FCC’s regulations even more and perhaps strongly reduce First Amendment rights (mainly free speech) on broadcasting networks.
Back in March, in an editorial, the New York Times commented:
“We hope the Supreme Court does not authorize the F.C.C. to return to its censorial policies.”
Most of the Justices are pretty conservative so there’s definitely a good chance they will favor the FCC.
The current Court term ends at the end of November, so a decision should be issued by then.
Meanwhile, if you’re into reading legal papers, there’s a bunch of those on the case here.