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Constitutional Law Keyed to Stone
FCC v. Pacifica Foundation
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*Case Brief Anatomy includes: Brief Prologue, Complete Case Brief, Brief Epilogue
- The Brief Prologue provides necessary case brief introductory information and includes:
- Topic: Identifies the topic of law and where this case fits within your course outline.
- Parties: Identifies the cast of characters involved in the case.
- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
- Case Key Terms, Acts, Doctrines, etc.: A case specific Legal Term Dictionary.
- Case Doctrines, Acts, Statutes, Amendments and Treatises: Identifies and Defines Legal Authority used in this case.
- The Case Brief is the complete case summarized and authored in the traditional Law School I.R.A.C. format. The Pro case brief includes:
- Brief Facts: A Synopsis of the Facts of the case.
- Rule of Law: Identifies the Legal Principle the Court used in deciding the case.
- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
On October 30, 1973, at 2:00 p.m., a New York radio station, owned by the Respondent, Pacifica Foundation (Respondent) broadcast the “Filthy Words” monologue. A few weeks later, a man who stated that he heard the broadcast while driving with his young son, wrote a letter complaining to the Petitioner, the Federal Communications Commission (Petitioner). In response to the complaint, the Respondent explained that the monologue had been played during a program about contemporary society’s attitude toward language and that, immediately before its broadcast, listeners had been advised of the monologue’s language. The Petitioner, after characterizing the language as patently offensive, though not necessarily obscene, issued a declaratory order granting the complaint, but not imposing any formal sanctions. The Petitioner concluded that the language as broadcast was indecent and prohibited by 18 U.S.C. Section:1464, prohibiting the broadcast of obscene, indecent or profane language. The Unit ed States Court of Appeals reversed.
- Issue(s): Lists the Questions of Law that are raised by the Facts of the case.
- Holding: Shares the Court's answer to the legal questions raised in the issue.
- Concurring / Dissenting Opinions: Includes valuable concurring or dissenting opinions and their key points.
- Reasoning and Analysis: Identifies the chain of argument(s) which led the judges to rule as they did.
- The Brief Prologue closes the case brief with important forward-looking discussion and includes:
- Policy: Identifies the Policy if any that has been established by the case.
- Court Direction: Shares where the Court went from here for this case.