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Legal Update: FCC Profanity, School Strip Search, Self-Representation

When bad things happen, how far can the government go as punisher or protector? These Days legal analyst Dan Eaton analyzes three court cases which weigh government interest against individual rights.

Legal Update: FCC Profanity, School Strip Search, Self-Representation

Tom Fudge: If I'm not allowed to say the "F" word right now, is that a violation of my First Amendment rights? What if one of our These Days guests or callers uses profanity in an isolated and fleeting manner? Should KPBS be fined by the FCC for using indecent language? This whole issue of indecency on the air came to a head a few years ago with the infamous "Janet Jackson breast incident" during the Super Bowl halftime show.

But most of the time this controversy centers around the use of profane language, and whether broadcast stations can be fined for airing the occasional dirty word. Well, a few big broadcasters have sued the FCC over that question, and it's now before the U.S. Supreme Court. That's one of the issues Legal Analyst Dan Eaton joins us to talk about. All of the cases we'll discuss today focus on how far the government can go to punish and investigate bad deeds, when questions of basic civil rights are involved.



  • Dan Eaton , San Diego attorney and These Days legal analyst.