Fleeting expletives

Ed. note: This post appears courtesy of our friends at Techdirt. We’ll be sharing law-related posts from Techdirt from time to time in these pages.

At times, there’s no one in a more unenviable position than the chairman of the FCC. When not dealing with larger issues like net neutrality and wireless competition, you’re at the beck and call of every member of an Overly Concerned Citizens’ Group that feels the need to start a letter-writing campaign any time an expletive hits the airwaves.

Bono fired off an f-bomb at the Grammys and someone let Nicole Richie make the most of her what-am-I-for fame by giving her a microphone and allowing her to explain how difficult removing cow shit from a Prada purse is. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has twice found the FCC’s rules on so-called “fleeting expletives” to be a violation of the First Amendment. That, of course, matters little to angry letter writers who somehow believe The Children will be encouraged to swear by potty-mouthed celebs…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Red Sox’ David Ortiz Unleashes An Expletive During Televised Speech; FCC Says ‘F**k It’”

Alas, no decision came out today in the health care reform case.

Frankly, I think the Justices are waiting to see how absurd the press coverage can get. The Washington Post has reported on two awesome ways to guess what the Court’s decision will be. First, use a stopwatch and a few mp3 files. If that doesn’t work, poll former SCOTUS clerks.

Both methods predict that Obamacare is going down.

The Post has not opined on a more reliable method to learn what the Court’s decision will be: chill out and wait for the Court to issue its decision next week. But they have pages to fill; one can forgive a bit of silliness.

The Court did, however, issue four opinions today, in some of the big cases on its docket.

What were they?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Supreme Court Is Fair To Crack Dealers, Corporations Paying Fines, And Those Who Use Profanity, Less So To Unions”

Hold up. How could I be a baby daddy? I haven't hit puberty.

* Sorry, Obama, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is alive, well, and doesn’t plan on retiring any time soon. No more Supreme Court appointments for you, buddy boy. [The Oval / USA Today]

* Judge William Adams will not face charges over the beating of his daughter, Hillary Adams, due to the statute of limitations. At least he’ll still have public scrutiny and embarrassment. [Houston Chronicle]

* The Third Circuit has tossed out a $550K fine against CBS for the second time, because really, who wouldn’t want to see a fleeting nipple image belonging to Janet Jackson. [Legal Intelligencer]

* A former Nixon Peabody attorney got probation instead prison for false statements charges, and might even get her law license back. Did she get points for being pretty? [Blog of Legal Times]

* And speaking of being pretty, this lawsuit claims that favoring employees’ diversity over hotness at Panera Bread will allegedly earn you a spot on the unemployment line. [Washington Post]

* Occupy Wall Street protesters better hope that their lawyers aren’t planning to scrawl their pleadings on the bottoms of pizza boxes, because they’re going to trial. [Bloomberg]

* Did Justin Bieber’s alleged baby mama deflower the teen pop star? You better beliebe it! She claims in court documents that their reported encounter was his first time. [New York Post]


We agree with the Networks that the indecency policy is impermissibly vague. The first problem arises in the FCC’s determination as to which words or expressions are patently offensive. For instance, while the FCC concluded that “bullshit” in a “NYPD Blue” episode was patently offensive, it concluded that “dick” and “dickhead” were not. Other expletives such as “pissed off,” up yours,” “kiss my ass,” and “wiping his ass” were also not found to be patently offensive.

– Judge Rosemary S. Pooler, in a Second Circuit opinion in a case remanded by the Supreme Court. The Second Circuit struck down an FCC obscenity rule for being unconstitutionally vague and violating the First Amendment.