Holy s%*# !
The U.S. Supreme Court in a rare unanimous opinion struck down hefty fines imposed by the FCC against ABC and Fox for "fleeting expletives."
The case, which has been bouncing between the FCC and the courts since 2004, evolved from three episodes:
1. Nicole Richie dropped a couple of expletives on the live 2003 Billboard Music Award, stating: "Have you ever tried to get cowshit out of a Prada purse? It's not so fucking simple."
2. Cher responded to her critics on a live music awards show by saying "Well fuck 'em."
3. And then there was the image emblazoned on America's eyeballs and psyche -- pudgy middle-aged Dennis Franz showing his bare backside for 7 seconds on NYPD Blue.
The Court decided the case by an 8-0 vote, unusual in this day of divisive 5-4 decisions. New Justice Sonia Sotomayor did not participate since she served on the 2d Circuit Court of Appeals when it considered the same case.
The Court struck down the FCC's actions on a very limited basis. that is the failure of the FCC to give sufficient notice of what conduct was prohibited, and therefore the FCC fines violated due process. But the Court passed on the "hot potato" issue of whether the FCC can regulate content at all without violating the First Amendment.
Of some interest, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a concurring opinion which stated that the First Amendment prohibited the FCC from regulating profanity. This is the same position that Justice Clarence Thomas took in a concurring opinion in a previous appeal.
So fleeting expletives are safe - for now. Makes you wonder what the f#*king acceptance speeches at the Grammys and Academy Awards will be like this year. Don't know about you, but I'm gonna be watching those motherf*#@ers !
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