Judicial Activism rears its ugly head again


For Immediate Release:  July 22, 2008
Contact:  Phil Burress at (513) 733-5775

Judicial activism rears its ugly head again

FCC enforcement of broadcast indecency laws thwarted

Cincinnati, OH – Yesterday, a Federal Appeals Court called the $550,000 fine “arbitrary and capricious” when the Federal Communications (FCC) levied the penalty against CBS and its network stations for airing Janet Jackson’s infamous wardrobe malfunction during a Super Bowl halftime show in 2004.

In response, an Ohio pro-family public policy group is calling the 3rd Circuit Court ruling shameful judicial activism and described it as another crack in the floodgates holding back broadcast indecency over the public airwaves.

Citizens for Community Values sees (CCV) the court fight being waged about something far bigger than a half-million dollar fine. CCV President Phil Burress pointed out, “In the whole scheme of things, $550,000 to CBS is a drop in the bucket when consider that the average revenue generated for one 30-second spot during Super Bowl XLII was $2.7 million,” he said. “They want more than to just avoid paying a little traffic ticket.”

Burress predicts that if this decision and others currently in the court system are not overturned in favor of broadcast indecency laws, the networks will view it as a green light to continue to push the limits. “One spokesman on behalf of a group of TV writers, directors and producers, has already called the ruling ‘an important advance for preserving creative freedom on the air.’ That’s just Hollywood doublespeak for freedom to do whatever we want,” Burress said.

Burress also pointed to statements directly from CBS as evidence of this agenda. “What else would CBS mean when it said it hopes the decision ‘will lead the FCC to return to the policy of restrained indecency enforcement it followed for decades,’” he questioned. “For the sake of our children and families, let’s all hope not.”

CCV says it supports the passage of S. 1780, currently before the United States Senate, which strengthens the Public Telecommunications Act of 1992 and prevents judicial activism like that seen in the 3rd Circuit. They are encouraging concerned citizens to contact their U.S. Senators and let them know they want the law passed.