WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court heard an hour of argument Tuesday in the Federal Communications Commission's indecent speech case against Fox Television Stations.
Scotusblog.com said no decision was made and it was difficult to tell what the eventual outcome might be since several jurists didn't say much throughout the hearing.
The FCC asserts that "fleeting expletives" on radio and television in daytime and prime time are indecent and stations should be fined if they use them on the air. Fox, however, maintains that not being allowed to use certain controversial words violates its First Amendment right to free speech.
In the case of FCC v. Fox Television Stations, the Supreme Court is reviewing the FCC's claim that it has the power to penalize a station for even one use of two specific, four-letter words -- one beginning with "F" and the other with "S."
Scotusblog.com said Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justice Antonin Scalia were the only ones Tuesday who backed the government's authority to ban "fleeting expletives"
The Web site also said it seemed like the FCC might have to try again to make its case as to why single uses of the words should be considered indecent and illegal when aired during times when children might be listening.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said there is "no rhyme or reason" as to how the FCC dispenses fines for violating the rule and she added that the network's complaint about the ban interfering with its right to free speech is "the big elephant in the room," Scotusblog.com said.