Indecency Ball Could Soon Be in Supreme's Court

Author: John Eggerton
Supreme Court of the United States, One First Street, NE, Washington, DC, United States

If the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the Federal Communications Commission's indecency ruling against the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake reveal in the 2004 Super Bowl, the Supreme Court will almost have to resolve the constitutional issues around FCC indecency enforcement.

"You never want to lose," says veteran indecency attorney John Crigler, a partner with Garvey Schuber Barer. But Crigler also believes a Jackson victory for the FCC would supply the court with a clear invitation to take the case. At stake is broadcasters' ability to push the envelope to keep up with the cable competition, or sometimes just to be able to show a statue on Antiques Roadshow without covering up the naughty bits. The FCC already argues that the Fox decision is a split from the Supreme Court's support in the Pacific case for a contextual approach to indecency enforcement. If Jackson comes down in broadcasters' favor, the FCC will almost certainly appeal the decision, and the court could agree.



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