Summary Box: Supreme Court debates rules on TV

BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT: Whether policing curse words and nudity on broadcast television makes sense in the cable era.

THE BACKDROP: Programs are available to viewers free over the air ? even though many now receive it through paid cable connections ? during hours when children are likely to be watching.

REACTION: One justice suggested the policy is fast becoming moot as broadcast TV heads the way of “vinyl records and 8-track tapes.” Some justices said they were troubled by inconsistent standards that allowed certain words and displays in some contexts but not in others.