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Moot Court Finals December 5 Will Consider Whether FCC Indecency Standards are Constitutional

The constitutionality of the Federal Communications Commission’s indecency standards will be considered on Monday, Dec. 5, when four Yale Law School students compete in the Harlan Fiske Stone Prize Finals of the Morris Tyler Moot Court of Appeals. Arguments begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Yale Law School auditorium; doors open at 4 p.m. A reception will follow in the Alumni Reading Room. The event is open to the Yale Law School community and invited guests.

Judge Raymond M. Kethledge of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Susan L. Carney of the Second Circuit, and Judge Robert A. Katzmann ’80 of the Second Circuit will hear the case, Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations, a real case that comes before the Supreme Court this term. At issue is whether the FCC’s standards for indecency on television are unconstitutional either because they infringe on free speech or are unconstitutionally vague.

“This is the second time the case has been before the Supreme Court,” said Moot Court co-chairperson Wendy Zupac ’12. “In 2009, the Court held that the FCC had acted within its authority under its governing statute when it banned ‘fleeting’ expletives and images. In this current case, the Court will squarely address the issues of whether the FCC’s indecency regime violates the First and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. We are very excited to have four talented finalists argue a case which has drawn so much public attention, and which has the potential to change the way the government can regulate television.”

Daniel Young ’12 and Jed Glickstein ’13 will argue for the petitioner, the FCC. Jonathan Siegel ’13 and Lewis Bollard ’13 will represent the respondent, Fox Television Stations.

The competitors’ briefs will be posted on the Moot Court website approximately one week before the date of the oral argument.

The Morris Tyler Moot Court competition takes place each semester at Yale Law School, culminating in the Harlan Fiske Stone Prize Finals in the fall and the Thurman Arnold Prize Finals in the spring. All second- and third-year law students are eligible to participate.