If you've been out of the country for the past six years, you have an excuse for being unfamiliar with Breaking Bad, perhaps the best show that's ever been on television.… Continue Reading
By guest blogger LAURENCE H. WINER, professor of law, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.
"You taught me language, and my profit on't is I know how to curse." - Caliban in The Tempest
Here's a question the late language maven, William Safire, might have pondered listening to the recent Supreme Court oral argument in the Fox and ABC broadcast indecency cases. What is truly "indecent" in the normative, Webster's Third sense of the word as "not conforming to generally accepted standards of morality":… Continue Reading
Two of the Supreme Court’s decisions most awaited by First Amendment advocates this term have landed with a thud. Or maybe a whimper. But certainly not with a bang. On April 28, the Court upheld the FCC’s power to implement a tougher policy against so-called “fleeting expletives” on live television. This was the Second Circuit’s… Continue Reading
Say what you will about the FCC, but you have to admit they’re a scrappy bunch when it comes to pursuing their crackdown on broadcast “indecency.” First they persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case they lost in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit – the one about Cher and… Continue Reading
Call it a victory for the rule of law. And a victory for common sense. On July 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit overturned the Federal Communications Commission’s fine against CBS televisions stations for airing the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident. As you might remember, this was the so-called “wardrobe malfunction”… Continue Reading
George Carlin’s death on June 22 came only days before the 30th anniversary of what has become his legacy in Washington policy circles: The U.S. Supreme Court’s Pacifica decision. That ruling centered on Carlin’s comedy bit "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" (commonly known as the “Seven Dirty Words” routine), and guided the… Continue Reading