Next Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear the case Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations. The FCC wants the court to restore its authority to ban barnyard epithets from the airways. But the more pressing question is whether Chief Justice John Roberts will allow C-SPAN to replay the audio tape of the oral arguments, and whether The New York Times will quote from the uncensored transcripts. Defense lawyer Carter G. Phillips says, “Unless the Court tells me not to, I would not shy away from using those words,” explaining that it would be cumbersome to use “the f-word” and “the s-word” as the stand-in terms. Then again, if the tapes do air on C-SPAN, perhaps the FCC will sue Phillips. It’s a f****ing catch-22.
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