The procedure for reviewing a trial court’s determination on closure – and for obtaining expedited or emergency review – will vary by jurisdiction. But courts have emphasized the need to resolve conflicts over access quickly, noting that “access should be immediate and contemporaneous” because “[e]ach passing day may constitute a separate and cognizable infringement of the First Amendment.”Grove Fresh Distributors, Inc. v. Everfresh Juice Co., 24 F.3d 893, 897 (7th Cir.1994). As the Supreme Court noted in another context, “the loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.” Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 373 (1976)
In the 5th Circuit, access decisions have been reviewed both on appeal and by petition for a writ of mandamus. U.S. v. Brown, 250 F.3d 907, 912 (5th Cir. 2001); see also U.S. v. Brown, 218 F.3d 415, 420 (5th Cir. 2000); Davis v. Capital City Press, 78 F.3d 920, 924 (5th Cir. 1996).
Appeals are possible under the “collateral order doctrine” if the initial decision at issue is “final in effect” even if it does not dispose of the entire litigation. Henry v. Lake Charles American Press, 566 F.3d 164, 171 (5th Cir. 2009). For this to be applicable, an order must (1) conclusively determine the disputed question, (2) resolve an important issue completely separate from the merits of the action, and (3) be effectively unreviewable on appeal from a final judgment. Id. See also U.S. v. Brown, 250 F.3d at 913; Davis v. Capital City Press, 78 F.3d at 923.