With Supreme Court Ready To Hear Indecency Case Tomorrow, Former Chairman 'Regrets' Fleeting Expletive Ruling
January 9, 2012 at 3:29 AM (PT)
The SUPREME COURT set to hear arguments TOMORROW (1/10) that the FCC is violating the Constitution by imposing fines for on-air indecency. The case is based on expletives used by CHER and NICOLE RICHIE on awards shows, as well as a scene from the old ABC-TV show, NYPD BLUE.
BLOOMBERG reports "the court's ruling may bring the biggest change in the FCC's regulation of broadcast content since the agency in 1987 stopped enforcing the Fairness Doctrine, which required broadcasters to present both sides of controversial issues."
"It just doesn’t make sense to say one rule applies to everything else and then say one special rule applies to broadcast television," said ACLU Legal Director STEVEN R. SHAPIRO.
Cheif Justice JOHN ROBERTS has been known to champion free speech, but former Chairman MICHAEL K. POWELL, said in 2004 that the FCC would begin punishing broadcasters for fleeting expletives -- one-time utterances on live shows.
Now, POWELL may have changed his mind, saying in an interview this week that he now regrets that vote, claiming, "if I were voting again, I would have dissented. I've always been deeply troubled by the way the First Amendment changes when you change channels.
Broadcasters have brought the suit before the court, claiming the FCC's standards are so vague they violate the Constitution.