Obama Administration Asks Supreme Court To Determine If FCC Can Fine ABC For Showing Charlotte Ross Naked
from the questions-of-our-time dept
So, now all of these cases are making their way through the courts again, with the Second Circuit again rejecting the FCC's fines in both the fleeting expletives case and the NYPD Blue case, stating that even if the rules are not arbitrary and capricious, they do violate the First Amendment, and create a chilling effect on speech. The ruling on fleeting expletives was especially good, and was clearly written with the Supreme Court in mind, knowing that it would almost certainly hear this case, eventually.
Some had thought that the Obama Justice Department might just let this matter drop, as it wasn't a huge concern. However, it has now petitioned the Supreme Court to review both cases, and to support the FCC's right to censor broadcast TV.
Of course, as the Second Circuit made clear in its ruling, the whole purpose of the FCC issuing such fines is outdated and silly. It was based on the fact that only the TV networks could really reach such a wide audience and thus had to be carefully monitored. In this digital era with the internet, does it really matter if someone hears a stray curse on TV? It's just as likely that they'll find much worse online. And, in fact, as we've pointed out, the FCC's action and subsequent lawsuits have driven a ton of views of the clip of Ross's bare butt online. In fact, at one point, it was one of the top videos on YouTube. That makes the whole FCC process seem pretty pointless if the idea is to try to "block" access to this content, doesn't it?