The Supreme Court ruled narrowly Tuesday in favor of a government policy that threatens broadcasters with fines over the use of even a single curse word on live television, yet stopped short of deciding whether the policy violates the Constitution.
In six separate opinions totalling 69 pages, the justices signaled serious concerns about the constitutionality of the Federal Communications Commission’s ”fleeting expletives” policy, but called on a federal appeals court to weigh whether it violates First Amendment guarantees of free speech.
By a 5-4 vote, however, the court did throw out a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. That court had found in favor of a Fox Television-led challenge to the FCC policy and had returned the case to the agency for a ”reasoned analysis” of its tougher line on indecency.
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