Washington -- The Department of Justice last week took the
first step in seeking Supreme Court review of an adult-cable-network-scrambling law that a
lower court tossed out as unconstitutional in a December ruling.
The DOJ, in a move prompted by the solicitor general, filed
a notice of appeal in federal district court in Wilmington, Del. -- the first procedural
step that the DOJ had to take in order get the case before the Supreme Court. However, the
DOJ has several weeks remaining to file formally with the high court.
Last month, a three-judge federal panel held that Section
505 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 violated Playboy's First Amendment rights.
The provision required cable operators that would not fully
scramble Playboy's audio and video signal to air the network only between 10 p.m. and
6 a.m. The court held, among other things, that the law was not the least restrictive
means of guarding against signal bleed.
Following the decision, the DOJ filed a pair of motions
with the court, one of which urged the court to permit the Federal Communications
Commission to enforce Section 505 against adult networks that are not owned by Playboy.
Playboy's attorney, Robert Corn-Revere, said he has
until Wednesday (Jan. 27) to respond to the motions.