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Supreme Court to Decide if FCC Can Fine Networks for Language, Nudity

Case involves awards show profanities, exposed buttocks on ”NYPD Blue“

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a case on whether the FCC can issue fines for on-air profanity and nudity.

The justices will review a lower court’s conclusion that the Federal Communications Commission’s indecency policy is unconstitutionally vague. It is related to fleeting profanities that aired on two Fox awards shows and from a scene of a woman's nude backside on ABC’s "NYPD Blue."

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The court upheld the FCC's right to impose fines two years ago, but did not address whether the fines violate free speech protections. It will decide that issue when it returns from its summer recess in October.

"We look forward to the Supreme Court's review of the significant constitutional issues in the case," Fox said in a statement. "We are hopeful that the Court will ultimately agree that the FCC's indecency enforcement practices trample on the First Amendment rights of broadcasters."

The Justice Department argued that two lower court rulings "preclude the commission from effectively implementing statutory restrictions on broadcast indecency that the agency has enforced since its creation in 1934."

The FCC ruled in 2006 that two broadcasts of the "Billboard Music Awards" show were indecent but did not fine Fox. Cher said f—, as did Nicole Richie, who also said s—.