Summary Box: Supreme Court debates rules on TV

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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.