Constitutional Law Keyed to Feldman
F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation
In an afternoon weekday broadcast, the Respondent, Pacifica Foundation’s New York radio station (Respondent), aired a twelve-minute radio program called “Filthy Words” by George Carlan. This monologue contained indecent words, but warned of the content immediately before airing the show. A listener who was driving with his son complained about the indecent radio show. In response to the complaint, the Petitioner, the FCC (Petitioner), issued a Declaratory Order granting the complaint and holding that Respondent “could have been the subject of administrative sanctions.” However, the Petitioner did not issue formal sanctions. The Petitioner explained that its regulation of certain words depicting sexual and erectory activity was designed to channel them to “times of day when children most likely would not be exposed.” The Court of Appeals overturned the Petitioner’s Order.
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