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FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc.

Court Type: U.S. Supreme Court
Status: Closed (Judgment)
Last Update: April 28, 2009

What's at Stake

Whether the FCC improperly reversed its position without adequate justification by recently holding that "fleeting expletives" represent "indecent" speech that can be banned from the airwaves. DECIDED

Summary

In 2006, the FCC reversed its prior position and held for the first time that “fleeting expletives” can be banned from the airwaves as a form of “indecent” speech. That administrative change of heart was struck down by the court of appeals because the FCC had not adequately justified it. The ACLU’s amicus brief – submitted on behalf of various media, arts and free speech organizations – additionally highlights the arbitrary manner in which the FCC has generally regulated “indecency,” and why the entire effort to regulate non-obscene speech is inconsistent with core First Amendment values.

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