The Supreme Court is giving tentative approval to government regulation of the use of even a single curse word on live television.
But the court, in a 5-4 decision Tuesday, is refusing to pass judgment on whether the Federal Communications Commission's "fleeting expletives" policy is in line with First Amendment guarantees of free speech. The justices say a federal appeals court should weigh the constitutionality of the policy.
The decision throws out a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. The appeals court had found in favor of a Fox Television-led challenge to the policy and had returned the case to the FCC to let the agency provide a "reasoned analysis" for its tougher line on indecency.
The commission appealed to the Supreme Court instead.