A federal appeals court today overturned the FCC's fine on CBS resulting from Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" in which her breast was exposed during her Superbowl halftime appearance.
CBS says it hopes the FCC will now revert to its past policy of "restrained indecency enforcement." But then this whole "Nipplegate" episode was much ado about nothing anyway because it wasn't like CBS planned the whole thing, accidents do happen. I agree with the court's decision.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit said the Federal Communications Commission had "arbitrarily and capriciously departed from its prior policy" that exempted fleeting broadcast material from actionable indecency violations.
Like any agency, the FCC may change its policies without judicial second-guessing. But it cannot change a well- established course of action without supplying notice of and a reasoned explanation for its policy departure," Chief Judge Anthony Scirica wrote for the three-judge panel that heard the case.