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Thursday, June 21, 2012

SCOTUS did not give free reign for obscenity on TV

A lot of posts/tweets this morning have been suggesting that the SCOTUS ruling against the FCC in FCC v. Fox means that we are going to see lots of swearing and nudity on TV. That’s not the case. All it means is that the FCC can’t change their rules willy-nilly or whop you with a massive fine without prior notice that the behavior you engage in will whop you with a massive fine (prior notice meaning “its in the rules”). They specifically called out that they were not even considering this a first amendment issue and that the FCC is free to adjust their rules to be more precise in what is or is not allowed.

From the ruling (my emphasis)

It is necessary to make three observations about this decision’s scope. First, because the Court resolves these cases on fair notice grounds under the Due Process Clause, it need not address the First Amendment implications of the Commission’s indecency policy or re- consider Pacifica at this time.  Second, because the Court rules that Fox and ABC lacked notice at the time of their broadcasts that their material could be found actionably indecent under then-existing policies, the Court need not address the constitutionality of the current indecency policy as expressed in the Golden Globes Order and subsequent adjudications.  Third, this opinion leaves the Commission free to modify its current indecency policy in light of its determination of the public interest and applicable legal requirements and leaves courts free to review the current, or any modified, policy in light of its content and application.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Thanks for clearing that up, Indiana!

My biggest concern for the Castle Doctrine laws has always been what happens if the police break into your house. What do you think would really happen if the police charge into your house by mistake or illegally and you shoot one of them. Stories of mistaken addresses, misserved warrants or unlawful entries are not uncommon.

The Indiana state Supreme Court ruled last year that “there is no right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers.” Seriously. That was the decision.

Indiana now has a new law on the books that specifically allows

residents to use deadly force in response to the “unlawful intrusion” by a “public servant” to protect themselves and others, or their property.

Maybe this will be a trend that forces police to reevaluate the use of “show of force” SWAT operations and starting knocking on doors politely again.