The Supreme Court declined Monday, for the time being, to become involved in the battle over dial-a-porn, telephone services that allow callers to hear sexual messages by calling a phone number and paying a fee.
The justices refused to hear a case brought by two companies providing such services that sought review of a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Co. to cancel such services.However, the issue will almost certainly come before the court again due to increased activity to ban the services, including tough federal legislation recently passed by Congress.
At issue in the dial-a-porn controversy is whether limits on such service violate the Constitution's First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech.
The "phone sex" services have been assailed by government bodies and the public for allowing anyone to call the numbers and hear the messages. Horror stories abound of $1,000 phone bills run up by youngsters who call the numbers and of charges the messages prompting children to molest one another.
Typically, the messages contain suggestive language designed to convince the caller the person speaking is engaged in a sexual act.
The Federal Communications Commission on April 22 slapped $1.2 million in first-ever penalties on two pornographic telephone services for not doing anything to prevent children from calling the numbers.
In other action, the court:
(SB) Agreed to decide how much authority federal prison officials have to ban magazines and other publications sent to inmates.
(SB) Acting in a New Jersey case, let stand a ruling that bars makers of asbestos who are sued for negligence from presenting evidence that they were unaware of the dangers of the cancer-causing substance.
(SB) Let stand a ruling that the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission discriminated against wom-en in hiring maintenance workers.