Supreme Court Extends Deadline for Seeking Profanity Ruling Review


The Supreme Court has given the solicitor general an extra month to decide whether to ask for high-court review of the federal appeals court decision that the FCC has not sufficiently justified its crackdown on cussing. 

The solicitor general, who argues cases before the high court, is the one who will make the decision on whether to take the FCC's case to the highest court. The commission has already passed on appealing to the full Second Circuit after the three-judge panel's stinging rebuke in June.

The FCC had found that so-called fleeting profanities uttered by Nicole Ritchie and Cher in two Fox Billboard Awards Broadcasts were indecent. That ruling stemmed from its stepped-up enforcement on profanities following its indecency decision against Bono's "fucking brilliant" exclamation on an NBC awards show.

But the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said the commission had not sufficiently justified the indecency findings, and even called into question its general authority to regulate content. 

The deadline for petitioning for Supreme Court review had been Sept. 2, but the solicitor general's office last week asked for an extension until Oct. 4, and the court granted it. 

That request for extra time does not necessarily mean the prospects for seeking review are greater. (At press time, a Justice spokesman had not returned calls inquiring about the reason for requesting the extension). Given that Sept. 2 falls over the Labor Day weekend, it may have been the sort of extension frequently sought when filing deadlines fall around holidays.