Janet Jackson Super Bowl Case Makes its way all the way up to the Supreme Court
On November 20, 2008, the United States Solicitor General’s Office filed a motion in a matter familiar to the vast majority of American sports fans. During the Super Bowl 2004 half-time show, Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson, two internationally renowned pop stars, were involved in a so-called “wardrobe malfunction” that resulted in the exposure of one of Ms. Jackson’s breasts on national television. This incident sparked a series of legal actions and federal crime charges. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sought damages against the CBS Network for broadcasting public nudity, citing a previous case in which the FCC had sued Fox television stations for fleetingly broadcasting expletives to viewers and listeners. Initially, the Third Circuit panel sided with the FCC and levied a fine of more than half-a-million dollars against the network and its affiliates.
Depending on how the court responds to this petition for certiorari, the case may be pending for some time and may hold implications for the future of the FCC and the major broadcast networks.
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