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FCC v. Fox Television Stations

Docket No.: 07-582
Certiorari Granted: Mar 17 2008
Argued: November 4, 2008
Decided: April 28, 2009

PartyNames: Federal Communications Commission, et al. v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., et al.
Petitioner: No. 07-582 Title: Federal Communications Commission, et al.
Respondent: Fox Television Stations, Inc., et al.

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

No. 07-582 Title: Federal Communications Commission, et al.
v.
Fox Television Stations, Inc., et al.
Question Presented:

Whether the court of appeals erred in striking down the Federal Communications Commission's determination that the broadcast of vulgar expletives may violate federal restrictions on the broadcast of "any obscene, indecent, or profane language," 18 U.S.C. 1464; see 47 C.F.R. 73.3999, when the expletives are not repeated.

Question:

Is the FCC's order imposing liability on Fox Television Stations for fleeting expletives spoken during two nationally broadcast awards ceremonies is "arbitrary and capricious" under the Administrative Procedure Act, based on the FCC's previous acceptance of similar expletives?

Holding: reversed and remanded
Vote: 5-4
Opinion By: Justice Antonin Scalia
Read FCC V. FOX TELEVISION STATIONS opinion (PDF)
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