The Congressional Research Service (CRS), which is basically a small, non-partisan think tank within Congress, just released a new report on the “Constitutionality of Applying the FCC’s Indecency Restriction to Cable Television.” While trying his best to avoid any controversial statements on the matter, the report’s author Henry Cohen, a legislative attorney at CRS, concludes that “It appears likely that a court would find that to apply the FCC’s indecency restriction to cable television would be unconstitutional.” Cohen addresses the many different ways the courts might approach the issue, but points out that the government’s case will be weak in almost every respect.
This is an issue we have invested a lot of intellectual energy in at Progress & Freedom Foundation. If you are interested in our take on the constitutionality of the many ways in which Congress might seek to expand content controls to cable and satellite television, you might want to read the following 3 reports:
“Can Broadcast Indecency Regulations Be Extended to Cable Television and Satellite Radio?” by Robert Corn-Revere, PFF Progress on Point 12.8, May 2005.
“Thinking Seriously about Cable & Satellite Censorship: An Informal Analysis of S-616, The Rockefeller-Hutchison Bill,” by Adam D. Thierer, PFF Progress on Point 12.6, April 2005.
“‘Kid-Friendly’ Tiering Mandates: More Government Nannyism for Cable TV,” by Adam D. Thierer, PFF Progress Snapshot 1.2, May 2005.