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FCC files Supreme Court appeal in expletives case

[JURIST] The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] Friday asked the US Supreme Court to review a decision [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York vacating an FCC determination [FCC order] that Fox Television broadcasts violated the FCC's indecency and profanity prohibitions. The appeals court ruled that the FCC's "fleeting expletives" standard breached the terms of the Administrative Procedure Act [text] because the FCC failed to articulate a reasoned basis for its change in policy. The decision nullified the policy until the FCC could provide "any explanation for why" the separate ban on profanity was necessary, which was not regulated by the FCC prior to 2004.

The two alleged indecency violations were unscripted expletives uttered during the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards. Fox challenged the FCC's determination, saying during oral arguments [JURIST report] on appeal last December that the FCC's decency standard was unclear and violated free speech protections. AP has more.

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