Scotus Slaps Down FCC

Roll George Carlin!

I agree with the outcome of the ruling, but it’s too limited for my taste:

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Federal Communications Commission failed to give two television networks, FOX and ABC, advance notice of standards before punishing them for broadcasts in which outbursts of expletives and brief nudity were aired.

“The Commission failed to give Fox or ABC fair notice prior to the broadcasts in question that fleeting expletives and momentary nudity could be found actionably indecent,” said Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the unanimous court.

The ruling does not affect the FCC’s policy banning indecency in TV broadcasting.

The court said that it did need not to address the First Amendment implications of the FCC’s indecency policy nor did it need to reconsider its prior indecency ruling in a 1978 decision regarding prolonged recitation of vulgar words.

The 1978 decision was bad, and vague, and they didn’t clear it up.

They took a very narrow ruling, and invalidated the fines because the FCC was arbitrary and capricious, and did not rule on the basic underlying issue. Ruth Bader Ginsberg felt the same way, and noted so in her concurring opinion.

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