Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Another Good Day for the First Amendment: Appeals Court Again Strikes Down FCC Fines

Another good inning for the First Amendment and freedom of expression today, as the the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York struck down as unconstitutional, for the second time in three years, the FCC's policy of heavily fining broadcasters for fleeting expletives on the air.

In the interim, the FCC had dragged its sorry case to the US Supreme Court, with an eye towards the High Court overturning the 2007 Court of Appeals decision.   Instead, the Supreme Court returned the case to the Appeals Court, which has once again spoken very clearly on this issue.

One hopes that the next step will be the Supreme Court striking down all fines of broadcasters as unconstitutional, and all attempts to regulate the content of our media.   Each and every one of those fines and attempts violate the First Amendment, and its insistence that Congress shall make no law abridging freedoms of speech and press.

Ultimately, the FCC itself should struck down and out as the unconstitutional incursion on our freedoms that it has been since its inception in the 1930s.   For many years, the Federal courts did almost nothing but support the FCC.   Perhaps the tide is finally beginning to turn - and return - to support of communication uncensored by government, which is guaranteed by our Constitution.

See also Is FCC 'running wild' with its big fines for 'fleeting expletives'? by Gloria Goodale  in The Christian Science Monitor for my further views and  The Flouting of the First Amendment
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