ASNE joins 3 Amicus Briefs With More on the Horizon
ASNE has recently joined three amicus briefs, all drafted and filed by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, on behalf of several media organizations and companies. Here's a short summary of each:
We supported ProPublica when they (and other local media) were subjected to a prior restraint by a Cook County (IL) judge via an order that prevented them from identifying families involved in a child welfare case. Our brief (technically a letter to the court) argued against both the unconstitutional prior restraint and the closing of the proceedings in the absence of a prior, on-the-record hearing demonstrating a compelling interest for closing the courtroom and a closure order that is as limited as necessary.
In Blades v. United States, we were also taking on the closing of a courtroom to some degree. In this instance, it challenges the policy of trial courts in the District of Columbia to use a "husher" to prevent those in the courtroom from hearing conversations between the judge and trial participants. We argued that its use - even during voir dire, as was the case here - must once again be limited to only those situations where absolutely necessary to protect a compelling interest such as the privacy of a witness or juror (and often only with regard to specific questions or topics rather than entire testimony).
Finally, in Arkansas Times v. Waldrip, a weekly newspaper is challenging an Arkansas law that requires anyone doing business with the state (including taking advertising from any state entities, such as public universities) to pledge that it will not boycott Israel or take "other actions" in support of a boycott. As our brief notes, this law is an unconstitutional intrusion on editorial independence. Regardless of the decision made by the paper, it will be perceived as aligning with one side or the other, losing any semblance of objectivity on the issue (note that the brief does NOT take a position for or against a boycott of Israel). The case is currently before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
That's just a summary of what we've done for you lately; there are already several more in the works.