This looks like the last gasp decency battle fought by the Bush administration’s Republican-dominated FCC. Still, it’s utterly ridiculous that Dubya’s communications watchdog and his politicized Justice Department are now asking the Supremes to overturn that appeals court decision throwing out the $550,000 fine against CBS for Janet Jackson’s one-secon-long exposed boob during the Super Bowl halftime show four years ago. Then FCC chairman and GOP stalwart Michael Powell took up the cause of Christian right groups and denounced Jackson plus everyone associated with the tit scandal. (But FCC Democrat Michael Copps also wanted enforcement because he has long championed tighter monitoring of Big Media’s stranglehold on the airwaves.) This latest legal salvo claims the 3rd Circuit Court Of Appeals ruling in July was flawed and tred on FCC turf for thinking the fine against CBS stations was arbitrary and capricious. And let’s not forget that the FCC and Justice Department recently argued before the Supreme Court over the Fox profanity appeal earlier this month. The Bushies want the Supremes to wait until after the august body decides that case before considering the CBS one. Both concern so-called “fleeting” instances of indecency that the networks argue cannot possibly be blocked every time out because of their randomness and brevity despite best efforts. It’s expected that under the incoming Obama administration a Democratic-controlled FCC will return to the policy of restrained indecency enforcement for broadcast content, which was reined in by pressure from the then Republican-controlled Congress. But the two cases may test the social conservatism of the current makeup of the Supreme Court.
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