Last year, the TV networks and their “fleeting expletives” won their case against the Federal Communications Commission. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in favor of Fox, CBS, NBC, and ABC… and the public’s right to hear Jane Fonda use the “c” word as necessary.
SCOTUS agreed yesterday to hear the FCC’s appeal.
The Second Circuit held that, contrary to the commission’s policy under the Bush administration, the agency could not punish television stations for broadcasting “fleeting expletives,” or blurted obscenities. At the time, F.C.C. officials expressed concern that the opinion could hamper the ability of the commission to regulate any speech on television or radio.
Kevin J. Martin, the chairman of the commission, said on Monday that he was pleased that the high court would review the issue. Last June, he said he was “disappointed for American families” because of the Second Circuit ruling.
“The commission, Congress, and most importantly, parents understand that protecting our children in our greatest responsibility,” Mr. Martin said. “I continue to believe we have an obligation, then, to enforce laws restricting indecent language on television and radio when children are in the audience.”
American families everywhere are rejoicing.
For background on the Second Circuit’s ruling, check out this excellent New York Journal article:
The FCC planned to sanction the network first for Cher’s comment at the 2002 Billboard Music Awards, when she said “f**k ’em” about critics who had repeatedly said her career was over.
Richie followed at the 2003 awards by saying “Have you ever tried to get cow s**t out of a Prada purse? It’s not so f**king simple.”
Who would have thought that Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie’s adventures on the Simple Life would spur a Supreme Court case? We hope to hear Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read Nicole Richie’s quote aloud during arguments.
2nd Circuit Finds FCC’s Policy on ‘Fleeting Expletives’ Arbitrary [New York Law Journal on Law.com]
Justices to Hear F.C.C. Indecency Case [New York Times]