Supremes: No Action on Indecency or Media Ownership Challenge

Author:
Updated:
Original:

It was a "no decision" day Monday in the Supreme Court, at least in terms of two cases closely watched by broadcasters.

The court released opinions and a list of cases it had agreed to or declined to hear, but that list did not include a decision on its review of FCC indecency regs, or on whether or not to hear a broadcaster challenge to media ownership rules.

The indecency case, Fox vs. FCC, is the government's challenge to a Second Circuit court ruling that the FCC's indecency findings against swearing on a Fox awards show and ABC's NYPD Blue and the FCC's indecency enforcement policy in general were unconstitutionally vague. The oral argument was before eight Justices, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor recusing herself as a former member of the Second Circuit appeals court whose ruling is at issue, though she was not part of the panel that rendered the decision.

The High Court has also been asked to overturn a Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last July on media ownership regs. The Third Circuit upheld the FCC's 2008 decision not to loosen the TV duopoly, radio ownership or TV/radio cross-ownership rules, but vacated the FCC's loosening of the broadcast/newspaper cross-ownership rule, saying it had failed to meet notice and comment requirements.

They are actually considering three appeals of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. The National Association of Broadcasters sought appeal on the grounds that there was a split in the circuits, while Tribune (joined by Fox, Sinclair, Clear Channel, Bonneville and the Newspaper Association of America) and Media General challenged on constitutional grounds in separate petitions.

Scotusblog.com, which follows and analyzes the orders and decisions, said it was not expecting any more such releases out of the court this week.

Related