In the Loop

Non-election news: Bad language at the Supreme Court is for their ears only

Posted at 11:40 AM on November 4, 2008 by Jeff Horwich (2 Comments)

According to an update from Broadcasting and Cable, recordings of today's colorful Supreme Court arguments will not be made available to C-Span (the way other recent cases of high public interest have been).

Um...you're welcome, America.
(Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
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Re-cap: In 2003, Bono yelled on live TV that it was "f---ing brilliant" when he won a Golden Globe award. Whether a Golden Globe award really is that f---ing brilliant is beside the point -- the FCC fined Fox (the broadcaster) for allowing broadcast of "one of the most vulgar, graphic and explicit" words in the English language, and threatening "the well-being of the nation's children." Fox challenged the regulation in court, and won. The appeal has reached the Supreme Court, and oral arguments in that case are today.

Chances are, the lawyers (and the Sup. Ct. justices, perchance?) will themselves need to indulge their potty-mouths just to address the matter at hand. Naturally, this would be a really fun one to hear in a Nina Totenberg report.

But no such luck. Lately the Supreme Court (of its own good graces, I guess) has been releasing tapes of arguments promptly to C-Span, from whence they filter out to the rest of the media and the public. But not this time.

B&C speculates it may be because they don't want to distract from the election. I'd speculate it's because they'd rather the world not hear Samuel Alito or Ruth Bader Ginsburg dropping the F-Bomb. Bummer.

(Bono, btw, tells the Wall Street Journal he regrets doing such an "uncool thing" and that he "regressed" in that moment of joy. None of which means he agrees with the FCC rule. WSJ also reminds us that "F---" is an official entry in the Oxford English Dictionary.)


Comments (2)

"Naturally, this would be a really fun one to hear in a Nina Totenberg report."

Make that happen and I will double my membership contribution. (which is non-zero: this is not a trick)

Posted by bsimon | November 4, 2008 1:13 PM


What I don't understand is how a word can "threaten the well-being of the nation's children." To paraphrase, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," right?

Posted by brain | November 6, 2008 2:03 PM


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