'Fleeting Expletives' Case Heard By Supreme Court
November 5, 2008 at 5:21 AM (PT)
The SUPREME COURT heard the oral argument from Solicitor General GREGORY G. GARRE in support of the FCC's "fleeting expletives" indecency rule TUESDAY, with GARRE asserting that if broadcasters win, the result could be "BIG BIRD dropping the 'f-bomb' on 'SESAME STREET.'"
In the court's customary vigorous questioning, Justices ANTONIN SCALIA and JOHN ROBERTS appeared most receptive to the government's position, while STEPHEN BREYER, RUTH BADER GINSBURG, and JOHN PAUL STEVENS, who asked whether it might be the case that a fleeting expletive could be acceptable if "it was very, very funny," seemed more skeptical.
GINSBURG in particular focused on the Commission's inconsistency in allowing expletives on the telecast of "SAVING PRIVATE RYAN" but not on a PBS documentary about blues musicians.
The case, brought by FOX television, is on appeal from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals' rejection of the FCC's ruling and remand to the Commission.