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Kennedy v. Orszag

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  1. Court Access
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, on behalf of a coalition of media organizations, successfully intervened to unseal…

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, on behalf of a coalition of media organizations, successfully intervened to unseal records in a child-support modification case in D.C. Superior Court. The parties in the case are former Office of Management and Budget director and current Citigroup executive Peter Orszag and his ex-wife Cameron Kennedy. Orszag had tried to seal his financial records that were evidence in the case, arguing that release could damage his efforts to return to government service; that his confidentiality agreement with Citigroup exempted his salary from disclosure, and that family court trials do not have the same tradition of openness as other civil proceedings. The Reporters Committee argued that sealing runs counter to the presumptive right of access under common law to court documents in civil trials in Washington, DC. The media coalition also argued that the public has a legitimate interest in learning how courts decide child-support matters, and that Orszag’s purported justifications for sealing documents are insufficient to overcome the presumption of access.