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United States v. Playboy Entertainment Group (2000)  [Findlaw]

Secondary Link United States v. Playboy Entertainment Group  [Legal Information Institute]
Argument Date 11/30/1999
Decided 5/22/2000
Supreme Court Vote 5-4
Supreme Court Ruling First Amendment claim sustained.
IssueWhether a federal law requiring cable operators to "fully scramble" indecent and sexually explicit programming on adult stations violates the First Amendment.
Case Summary & Additional Resources
Majority Opinion Kennedy, J.
Concurring Opinion Stevens, J., & Thomas, J.
Dissenting Opinion Scalia, J., & Breyer, J. (the latter joined by Rehnquist, C.J., O'Connor, J., & Scalia, J.)
Lower Court Ruling First Amendment claim sustained.
Oral Arguments Oral Arguments  [Oyez]
For Petitioner
Christopher J. Wright, for Federal Communications Commission

Robert Corn-Revere

For United States
Seth Waxman

For Petitioner
Department of Justice & Federal Communications Commission (reply re petition)

For Federal Communications Commission (jurisdictional statement)

For Respondent
Playboy Entertainment Group

Playboy Entertainment Group (reply brief)

For Amicus
American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression et al.

Family Research Council

Media Institute

National Cable Television Association

Sexuality Scholars et al.

Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression et al.

News Stories & Commentary
Adult Video News, "United States v. Playboy Entertainment Group, Inc. More About The Future of Erotic Speech Than About Law"

AP, "High court appears split in Playboy TV case" (11/30/1999)

AP, "Supreme Court sides with Playboy Television on cable-sex rules" (5/22/2000)

AP, "Supreme Court takes Playboy TV case" (6/21/1999)

Christian Law Association, "Supreme Court Rules Against Media Laws That Protect Children"

Greenhouse, Linda, "Court Overrules law Restring Cable Sex Shows," New York Times, May 23, 2000, sect. A, p. 1
Hudson, David, "Playboy cable network challenging Decency Act provision" (3/5/1998)

Powell, III, Adam Clayton, "U.S. appeals court rules 1996 CDA cable TV 'blocking' provision unconstitutional" (12/30/1998)

Rutenberg, Jim, "No Big Surge in Sex Programs Is Expected From Cable Ruling," New York Times, May 24, 2000, sect. A, p. 16
Tony Mauro Analysis
"Channel-surfing Supreme Court takes on 'signal-bleed' dispute" (6/22/1999)

"High court examines restrictions on adult cable channels" (12/01/1999)

"Supreme Court brings 'clarity' to laws governing cable TV"

Channel-surfing Supreme Court takes on 'signal-bleed' dispute

High court examines restrictions on adult cable channels

Supreme Court brings 'clarity' to laws governing cable TV

Opinion - Lower Court
Playboy v. United States, 30 F. Supp. 2d 702 (F.Dist. Del., 1999)
Bell, Tom W., "Free Speech, Strict Scrutiny, and Self-Help: How Technology Upgrades Constitutional Jurisprudence," 87 Minnesota Law Review 743 (2003)
Bhagwat, Ashutosh, "What if I want my Kids to Watch Pornography?: Protecting Children from 'Indecent' Speech," 11 Wm. & Mary Bill of Rts. J. 671 (2003)
Corn-Revere, Robert, "Playboy Prevails in Four-Year Struggle to Strike Down Section 505 of Telecom Act," in THE FIRST AMENDMENT & THE MEDIA: 2001, edited by Richard T. Kaplar (Media Institute, 2001), pp. 89-86
Corn-Revere, Robert, Overview: "The First Amendment and the electronic media"

Ross, Catherine J., "Anything Goes: Examining the State's Interest in Protecting Children from Controversial Speech," 53 Vand. L. Rev. 427 (2000)
Tubbs, David L., "Conflicting Images of Children in First Amendment Jurisprudence," 30 Pepperdine Law Review 1 (2002)
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