As a result of the Supreme Court's decision to keep the Federal Communications Commission's indecency rules in place, more than 1.4 million complaints that have been sitting in limbo at the regulatory agency will now have to be reviewed for potential violations and fines.
In a statement Thursday, FCC Commissioner Robert Robert M. McDowell said, "It is now time for the FCC to get back to work so that we can process the backlog of pending indecency complaints — which currently stands at just under 1.5 million involving about 9,700 TV broadcasts."
The FCC had not acted on the complaints because it was awaiting the high court's ruling.
Thursday's decision did not declare that the FCC's indecency rules and the agency's enforcement of them were vague and unconstitutional, as the broadcast networks had hoped. Instead, the decision, concerning two specific cases involving Fox and ABC, was very narrow in scope, and is not likely to have any broader effect.
Specifically, the Supreme Court said a fine the FCC levied against ABC had to be nullified because the agency had not given the network "fair warning" of an a change in its enforcement of indecency rules. That fine was in relation to some nudity in a 2003 episode of "NYPD Blue."