April 8, 2011

MIM says Obama Administration must appeal 2nd Circuit decision invalidating the FCC broadcast indecency policy


NEW YORK (4/8/11) – In order to protect American families from an onslaught of indecency on network television, the U.S. Department of Justice must appeal the July 2010 2nd Circuit decision in Fox Television Stations, et al., v. FCC (lead Circuit Court docket is 06-1760) which invalidated the FCC broadcast indecency policy, according to Morality in Media general counsel Robert Peters.   Morality in Media has filed three amicus briefs in the case in support of the FCC.

According to Broadcasting & Cable (3/29/11), the Acting Solicitor General is having second thoughts about appealing a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (2nd Circuit) decision, handed down in July 2010, which invalidated the FCC’s current “indecency policy” on vagueness grounds.

“U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder should order the Solicitor General to appeal this critical decision,” Peters said. “The FCC’s current indecency policy is clear enough. The problem is not that TV networks can no longer discern community standards for broadcasting. The problem is that they no longer care about community standards or about the well-being of children,” he added.

“Is the U.S. Department of Justice of the opinion that broadcasters have a ‘constitutional right’ to air as much obscene, indecent and profane ‘language’ (which encompasses visual depictions) as they want?” Peters asked.  “The Department of Justice is the government’s lawyer and as such it represents the people, not the broadcasters.”

“Whatever the explanation for the Acting Solicitor General’s apparent reluctance to appeal the 2nd Circuit decision, it is time for Obama Administration, and U.S. Attorney General Holder in particular, to overrule the Solicitor General’s Office and to appeal this decision before time runs out on April 21. There is much to be gained and little to lose by now appealing to the Supreme Court,” said Peters.

Author: Morality in Media   04/08/2011

Further Reading