Vox Populi: The O'Shaughnessy Files

By William O’Shaughnessy | Go to book overview

TODAY’S SUPREME COURT OPINION
ON FLEETING EXPLETIVES

Here is our short but impassioned response to a Supreme
Court ruling that still left open fundamental freedom of
speech issues, broadcast April 28, 2009.

It appears that the Supreme Court is giving broadcasters “Undue Process.”

Instead of a decision on the constitutionality of the First Amendment, the Court dwells on the intricacies of the Administrative Procedure Act.

Thus I’m afraid today’s decision is prologue rather than epilogue, whose practical effect is to continue the dangerous status quo.

By focusing on the procedural issue of whether the FCC explained its new approach to “fleeting and isolated” words, the Court delayed the decision everyone should care passionately about: whether the FCC’s Indecency Policy is constitutional.

As an opinion about what a government agency has to do to change a prior policy, the decision is primarily fodder for lawyers. It is far more interesting if read as a rehearsal for the main event.

Much more work has to be done on this free speech issue of fundamental importance for all Americans.

The FCC should stay out of the censorship business.

-105-

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