Election ’08 finale is finally here; the Supreme Court gets indecent

ObamavanIt’s a momentous day.

I’ve never waited in line for nearly an hour to cast a ballot, even in past presidential elections. The turnout in my neighborhood was very diverse, particularly in terms of age. Maybe this really will be the election that awakens the sleeping giant of the 18-34-year-old vote.

I’ll be at the Century Plaza tonight to cover what sure looks like it’ll be a Barack Obama-Joe Biden victory party, hosted by the California Democratic Party and Generation Obama Los Angeles.

Aside from all of this historic election business, it’s also a big day for television policy wonks. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments this morning (crazy timing) in the indecency case pressed by Fox involving the use of “fleeting expletives,” or the kind of colorful expressions that pop stars and celebutants use on live awards shows without really thinking about it.

The Federal Communications Commission wants to enforce a policy that any use of salty language during the 6 a.m.-10 p.m. hours is automatically indecent and deserving of a fine. Fox and other broadcasters have pressed the case by noting that for years the commission tread very lightly when it came to fining stations for fleeting expletives, and they’ve argued that the FCC didn’t give adequate notice or explanation for its change in policy before it started passing out its fleeting fines.

It’s the first time the Supremes have heard a broadcast indecency case since the landmark 1978 Pacifica case involving George Carlin’s famed routine. The AP reports that the justices were fairly poker faced through the hourlong sesh, but that chief justice John Roberts indicated his support for the FCC’s stance with his questions and observations. The AP smartly notes that Roberts is the only one of the nine justices with young kids at home.

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