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‘Indecency’ Policy Gets a Court Date

Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday Jan. 10

The Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments for Jan. 10 in the case of FCC v. Fox Television Stations, considering the FCC’s indecency policies.

Broadcasters say that the commission’s current policies are not justified by the famous Pacifica court ruling and “cannot be squared with [the Supreme Court’s] First Amendment jurisprudence,” as the NAB and Radio Television Digital News Association wrote in a friend-of-the-court brief recently.

They said the justices should affirm a lower court’s earlier decision that FCC indecency policy is void for vagueness.

The court has said it will consider whether the Federal Communications Commission’s indecency-enforcement regime violates the First or Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.

Broadcast attorney Harry Cole, an RW contributor, wrote earlier this year on the blog of Fletcher Heald & Hildreth that “the stage has been set for what could be the final battle in the decades-long struggle relative to the regulation of so-called ‘indecency’ on broadcast stations.”