By Simon Vozick-Levinson
Updated April 28, 2009 at 08:47 PM EDT

The Supreme Court ruled today that the Federal Communications Commission can hit TV networks with massive fines for broadcasting even a single obscene word, Reuters reports. The 5-4 decision overturns a 2007 ruling by a federal appeals court, which held that the FCC’s recent crackdown on so-called “fleeting expletives” — including words uttered by Cher and Nicole Richie at the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards, both aired on Fox — had been “arbitrary and capricious.” While the Supreme Court found that the FCC is in compliance with existing law, the networks may still go on to challenge the “fleeting expletives” policy on constitutional grounds if they so choose.