Despite speculation that the Supreme Court would rule on the fate of the Affordable Care Act this morning, the justices again chose to punt on the issue until next week. Either way, it's bad news for supporters of the law: If all death panels work as slowly as the Supreme Court, we'll never be able to kill anything.
But the Supreme Court did make a series of important rulings on union dues, the Fair Sentencing Act and the FCC's indecency fines against television broadcasters. The latter case made its way to the Court after a 2nd Circuit ruling in favor of the networks…
The Justice Department had filed an appeal, and helpfully provided the justices with a DVD of a 2003 episode of the now-canceled "NYPD Blue" on ABC in which a naked woman was shown. The content of that program is central to the current legal dispute. ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox are all parties in the case.
A federal appeals court last year for a second time struck down the government policies, concluding they were vague and inconsistently applied. Pending sanctions against the broadcasters were dismissed.
So if the whole "Fast and Furious" debacle doesn't provide enough political hay for House Republicans, they can always accuse Eric Holder of peddling softcore pornography.
Unfortunately, while the Supreme Court has the power to scrub or allow "indecent" programming from our primetime airwaves, it can't compel the media to report its decisions accurately. Contrary to many headlines, the Court did not say that the FCC policy of applying sanctions for "fleeting expletives" and brief nudity constituted a violation of the First Amendment. Instead, Justice Kennedy ruled that because the FCC failed to give Fox or ABC fair notice prior to the broadcast that fleeting expletives and momentary nudity would be indecent, the Commission's standards as applied to these broadcasts were vague.
In other words, the FCC can still issue fines for "indecency," as long as fair notice is given, which doesn't explain how the Jersey Shore is still on TV.
Photo by Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Group/Getty Images
Tags: ABC, FCC, Fox, Supreme Court, Television
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10:55 – Well, that's all for tonight. I know! The time just flies by in these debates, huh?
What did you guys think of the debate? Who won? Who lost? Who stole Ron Paul's eyebrows?
10:52 – Does Rick Perry only relate to other humans in sports analogies and prayer?
10:49 – "I'm a serious candidate for president." — Michele Bachmann and every other serious candidate for president ever
10:48 – Newt Gingrich believes that life begins at conceptions but marriage ends at cancer.
10:43 – Rick Santorum says Mitt Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, issued gay marriage licences. He might as well have said he had sex with a dead raccoon.
10:42 – Now Mitt Romney is flip-flopping over whether he ever changed his mind about something.
10:39 – So, the economy is so bad that Mexicans aren't sneaking across the border anymore. Even more reason to erect an electrified fence. We, as Americans, need to protect our dishwashers and chambermaids.
10:36 – So, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich want to outsource immigration to American Express?
10:35 – Man, the America that these candidates live in sounds like a really scary place.
Tags: Bret Baier, Chris Wallace, Debates, Fox, Iowa, Liveblog, Megyn Kelly, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Neil Cavuto, Newt Gingrich, Primaries, Republicans, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul