The Supreme Court decided that the FCC did have basic authority to fine broadcast stations which air fleeting expletives, although it wasn’t so sure that authority would hold up under careful First Amendment scrutiny. So it fired it back down to the circuit court from whence it came for further consideration. In true domino fashion, the battle between CBS and the FCC over the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident also was fired back for further consideration at the Third Circuit, which was instructed to reconsider the matter in light of the FCC’s ruling on fleeting expletives.
The Third Circuit has decided to get another round of briefs from both sides before going any further. The appellee has 60 days from 6/4/09 to file and serve a brief and appendix, the appellant has 40 days after the appellee has acted to file and serve its brief, and then the appellee will have another 14 days in which to file and serve a reply brief, if desired.
Judge Anthony J. Scirica issued the call for briefs, which made no mention of oral arguments.
RBR/TVBR observation: Unless the parties are primed and ready to go, and start filing immediately, this process would appear to be headed at least into autumn, and if it goes oral, we could be looking at – when? Third Circuit was right to find for CBS, and SCOTUS should have ratified that finding. Costume reveal indeed — we’d like to see a justice reveal on this matter sometime during this millennium.