Supreme Court Won’t Appeal For Super Bowl “Wardrobe Malfunction”

It sounds like the gaffe that made headlines back during the Super Bowl win for the Patriots over the Panthers in 2004 is finally over.

Friday The Supreme Court decided that they would not consider reinstating the government’s $550,000 fine on CBS after the “wardrobe malfunction” for singer Janet Jackson during the halftime of the biggest game on the planet.

The court refused to hear an appeal from the FCC over the penalty. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals twice had thrown out the fine, the second time came after the Supreme Court upheld the FCC’s policy threatening fines against even one-time uses of curse words on live television.

The appeals court said FCC’s policy of excusing fleeting instances of indecent words and images appeared to change without notice in March 2004, a month after Jackson’s halftime act. The judges said that made the agency’s action against CBS “arbitrary and capricious.”

The FCC now though has clearly has abandoned its exception for fleeting expletives, Chief Justice John Roberts said. “It is now clear that the brevity of an indecent broadcast — be it word or image — cannot immunize it from FCC censure,” he said. “Any future `wardrobe malfunctions’ will not be protected on the ground relied on by the court below.”


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