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Court Still Doing the Profanity Remand Limbo

At press time Friday afternoon, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York had not issued a ruling on the FCC’s request to take a second look at four profanity decisions that were challenged by broadcasters.

Judges had indicated they thought they could decide the case the same day oral argument was presented--Aug. 29--but that stretched into late Friday with not decision and the clerk’s office calling it very unlikely until at least Tuesday.

The hold up may be crafting a stay of the enforcement of the four rulings, which the court would likely to if it grants the remand. The FCC argued that a blanket stay of "fleeting profanity" enforcement would be problematic, but tailoring one would also be tough sledding say communications attorneys.The FCC said it had made a mistake not letting broadcasters weigh in on the four decisions--against f-words and s-words--and has promised to take only 60 days to review and potentially revise them. Supporting and or not opposing the remand are all but the Fox affiliate associations and ABC. The other networks and the Fox affiliate association want the court to proceed to a trial on the merits.