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Access / FOIA

Aug 2021

Pushing Back Against NYPD for Violations of Journalists’ Constitutional Rights

Mickey H. Osterreicher and Robert D. Balin

In a recently filed suit, five visual journalists are suing the NYPD for civil rights violations after each journalist was targeted, beaten, or arrested by NYPD officers while attempting to cover the 2020 George Floyd protests in New York City.

Jul 2021

SCOTUS Strikes Down California’s Disclosure Requirement for Charitable Donors: Decision Lowers the Bar for Facial Challenges to Disclosure Laws

Brian Hauss

Justice Roberts held that California’s donor-disclosure requirement fails exacting scrutiny, and facially violates the First Amendment, because it is not narrowly tailored to California’s asserted interest in policing charitable misconduct.

Jul 2021

DC Circuit Provides Expansive Interpretation of FOIA’s ‘Foreseeable Harm’ Standard

Adam A. Marshall

Although the foreseeable harm provision is more than five years old, the D.C. Circuit’s opinion in Reporters Committee v. Federal Bureau of Investigation is only the court’s second opportunity to address the standard, and it is the first time it has offered a robust description of what the provision requires.

Jul 2021

Obfuscating Mercy: How The California Supreme Court Finally Addressed Secretive Pardons

Selina MacLaren and Thomas R. Burke

The new rule rejects the governor’s decades-old practice of automatically sealing clemency files, but places the onus on the public to move for unsealing.

Jun 2021

The Pentagon Papers 50 Years Later

George Freeman

Fifty years has not definitively resolved the impact and import of the Pentagon Papers case. Was it a monumental victory for the press? Was it a loss, since for the first time the courts imposed a prior restraint on a newspaper? Or was it an inconsequential one-off, since it hasn’t been a precedent for many…

Jun 2021

Social Media Blocking by Government Officials: Where Does the Law Stand?

Lyndsey Wajert

A look at how caselaw has developed since the Knight Institute filed the 2017 complaint against president Trump, and what factors courts consider in challenges to social media blocking by public officials.

May 2021

Law Banning Audio Recording of Bail Proceedings in Philadelphia Is Unconstitutional

Paul Safier and Shawn F. Summers

This ruling appears to be the first federal court decision to recognize a First Amendment right to record judicial proceedings in any circumstance.

Apr 2021

Access Issues in the Derek Chauvin Trial for George Floyd’s Death

Was there appropriate access to jury selection? Why was full television coverage authorized? Was it justified to ban the Daily Mail from the courtroom for running a prohibited tape? Is the 2-person press pool adequate and reasonable? What other issues are there in running and covering a high-visibility trial during the pandemic?

Mar 2021

Texas Appellate Court Declines to Seal Court Records Shining Light on Defective Toyota Product

Ben Moss

The Court of Appeals applied the full rigor of Rule 76a to alleged trade secrets, notching a win for advocates of open access to public records in Texas.