Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sable Communications of California, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commn. case brief

Sable Communications of California, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commn. case brief summary
492 U.S. 115 (1989)

Respondent government appealed the judgment of the United States District Court for the Central District of California which issued a preliminary injunction which prohibited the enforcement of the Communication Act of 1934, 49 U.S.C.S. § 223(b) (1988), with respect to any communication alleged to be indecent.

Petitioner offered sexually oriented prerecorded telephone messages through Pacific Bell(Bell). Petitioner arranged with Bell to use special telephone lines. Customers of the service were charged a fee and billed by Bell. The fee was split between petitioner and Bell. Petitioner brought suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against enforcement of 49 U.S.C.S. § 223(b) (1988), which imposed a blanket prohibition on indecent as well as obscene interstate commercial telephone messages. Petitioner brought suit to enjoin respondents from initiating any criminal investigation or prosecution, civil action or administrative proceeding under the statute. Petitioner also challenged the constitutionality of the indecency and obscenity provisions of the statute.

The court held 49 U.S.C.S. §223(b) (1988) did not survive constitutional scrutiny because the statute denied adult access to telephone messages which were indecent but not obscene and thus, exceeded that which was necessary to limit the access of minors to such messages.

The judgment was affirmed.

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