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Government Seeks More Time for Fox Profanity Challenge

The Solicitor General has asked for a second extension to
file what is expected to be its request for Supreme Court review of the
Fox profanity decision. That would move the deadline for filing the petition
for certiorari from March 22 to April 21.

That is according to an attorney following the years-long
appeals and court decisions. He says the extensions are not unusual and the
court is almost certain to grant the extra time if past is prologue.

The Solicitor General's office generally argues Supreme
Court appeals of lower court cases dealing with government agency decisions.

The Supreme Court had signaled back when it upheld the FCC's
decision on procedural grounds that it expected to get the case back on
constitutional issues. The court generally takes cases where a government rule
has been declared unconstitutional, as was the case when last July, the Second
Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the FCC's indecency enforcement policy as
unconstitutionally vague and chilling.

The Supreme Court had overturned the Second Circuit's
original decision that the policy was an arbitrary and capricious procedural
change in policy and remanded the case back to the court for a second look. On
second thought, the court said the policy was unconstitutionally vague and
chilling. It is that decision the government is preparing to challenge.

The case stems from the FCC's conclusion that the
"vulgar expletives" uttered by Cher and Nicole
Richie during live Fox broadcasts of the Billboard Music Awards in 2002
and 2003 were a violation of community standards for broadcasting.