DOJ Appeals To Supreme Court: FCC Indecency Powers At Stake
February 22, 2008 at 11:13 AM (PT)
The end of the free world as well know it! Fire and hailstorms! Cats marrying dogs! Although the aforementioned travesties were not specifically cited, THE JUSTICE DEPT. might as well have referenced them when it warned THE SUPREME COURT that unless it signs off on the FCC's ruling on fleeting profanity, the COMMISSION's regulatory power will be "severely undermined" -- even in cases of non-fleeting profanity.
The High Court is deciding whether to take up the FCC and DOJ's appeal of a lower court ruling that called out the FCC for changing its mind about fleeting profanities when it changed its ruling on one such instance aired on FOX'S BILLBOARD AWARDS show. The ruling demanded that the COMMISSION for a better explanation for its decision to start punishing fleeting profanities.
To some, the fact that the FCC went to the SUPREME COURT instead of coming up with a better explanation speaks volumes about them coming up with a better explanation.
According to BROADCASTING & CABLE, Solicitor General PAUL CLEMENT, speaking for the DOJ and FCC, argued, "the SECOND CIRCUIT decision left the FCC little room to modify its policy other than two extremes, adding that the court's decision "attempts to coerce the commission to choose between allowing one free use of any expletive, no matter how offensive or gratuitous, or adopting a blanket prohibition on any use of expletives."
On top of warning that the ruling would make much of GEORGE CARLIN's "7 Dirty Words" legal, so to speak, FCC Chairman KEVIN MARTIN tried to heighten the indecency threat by noting that "he didn't see how the agency could justify its indecency policy to the court given that the decision essentially signaled that the court didn't see how the policy could be justified."
Not reported is whether the network counsel questioned whether the FCC could ever justify its indecency policy.
THE SUPREME COURT is expected to conference on Feb. 29th to decide whether to take the case, although the judges have been known to put off the decision to take a case for even longer periods of time.
Read the entire story here.