You can’t hurry love, and you apparently can’t hurry the Supreme Court, either.  Despite considerable speculation that the Supremes might announce on Monday, March 3, whether it had decided to hear the FCC’s appeal in the Fox Television indecency case, the Court gave no indication one way or the other on that score in the list of orders it released.  According to the Court’s published schedule, the next date on which it will be in session – and, therefore, likely to release any decisions of any kind – will be Monday, March 17.

Unlike the lower Federal courts, the Supremes are under no obligation to hear appeals in any particular case (other than a very small universe of "original jurisdiction" cases, such as disputes between two states).  So when the FCC loses in a Federal court of appeals, as it did in the Fox Television case in the Second Circuit last June, it must ask the Supremes to please agree to review the lower court’s ruling.  The Supremes, in turn, will agree to do so only if at least four justices vote to do so.  The odds against getting your foot in the door are long: generally, 95%-99% of petitions for Supreme Court review are denied each year.

The FCC’s petition and the TV networks’ oppositions were distributed to the Justices for consideration at a February 29 "conference".  A conference is a meeting attended by only the Justices during which such petitions are considered and voted on.  Because the Fox Television case was presumably to be discussed and voted on on February 29, the smart money figured that on March 3 (i.e., the next time it was "in session") the Court would announce whether it would hear the case.  But the list of orders issued by the Court on March 3 contained no reference to the Fox Television case.

So revise your calendars for March 17, and check back here then to come see about it.