The Supreme Court on Tuesday began hearing oral arguments on whether thefleeting use of expletives on live television should be banned by the FCC.Neither lawyers or the justices uttered the expletives themselves during thehearing, referring only to "the f-word" or "the s-word." Two of the justice,John Roberts and Antonin Scalia, seemed to favor the FCC ban, with Robertsobserving that the words are used for "shocking value" and are "associatedwith sexual or excretory activity." Scalia commented that broadcasters havecontributed to a "coarsening" of society. On the other hand, Justice JohnPaul Stevens observed that the occasional use of such words may be "reallyhilarious, very, very funny." And Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg took note ofthe fact that the FCC failed to chastise broadcasters when they aired themovie Saving Private Ryan , expletives included. "There seems to be norhyme or reason when the commission says that one of these words is OK andwhen it says it isn't."

05/11/2008