U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Microsoft

January 18, 2018

The Reporters Committee and 40 media organizations submitted an amici brief in support of Microsoft in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court addressing whether the government can use a search warrant to obtain data stored by Microsoft overseas. The brief urges the Court to consider how its ruling in this case could impact journalists, emphasizing that cloud-based products and email are critical to journalists and that effective newsgathering relies on the security of these tools. The brief also argues that allowing the U.S. government to use a warrant to obtain data stored anywhere in the world could embolden countries that are hostile toward the news media to demand access to electronic information belonging to journalists.

Free press groups petition Attorney General on behalf of journalist James Risen

Emily Grannis | Newsgathering | News | August 14, 2014
News
August 14, 2014

More than 100,000 people, including 20 Pulitzer Prize winners, signed a petition submitted to President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder today urging the administration to rethink its policy of subpoenaing journalists to reveal their sources.

Seven representatives of free press organizations announced the delivery of the petition at the National Press Club this afternoon and called on the administration to drop its threatened subpoena of New York Times reporter James Risen.

Risen has been fighting since 2007 to protect a confidential source he used in writing a book about the Central Intelligence Agency, and he joined the panel at the press conference today.

SCOTUSblog denied Senate press credentials because of ties to law firm

Danielle Keeton-Olsen | Newsgathering | News | June 23, 2014
News
June 23, 2014

The U.S. Senate Press Gallery denied the popular Supreme Court website SCOTUSblog Senate press credentials today, finding that the site does not exercise enough editorial independence from the publisher's law firm.

The Gallery’s Standing Committee of Correspondents, consisting of five journalists credentialed to cover the Senate, posted a letter to SCOTUSblog’s publisher Tom Goldstein one month after its May 23 meeting discussing the site’s relation to Goldstein's firm, Goldstein & Russell LLP.

SCOTUSblog press-pass hearing raises questions about Senate credentialing process

Danielle Keeton-Olsen | Newsgathering | News | June 6, 2014
News
June 6, 2014

The status of a popular U.S. Supreme Court website as a publication credentialed to cover the Senate rests on a credentialing committee's opinion of the site's past and present ties to the site publisher's law firm.

SCOTUSblog, a website devoted to comprehensive coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court, still awaits a decision from the U.S. Senate Press Gallery Standing Committee of Correspondents on whether it will receive Senate press credentials.

In April, the committee rejected the application of SCOTUSblog editor and reporter Amy Howe and said it would not renew SCOTUSblog reporter Lyle Denniston’s credentials after questioning whether the site fits the gallery’s guidelines for editorial and financial independence.

Supreme Court will not hear Risen's appeal over subpoena in Sterling prosecution

Cindy Gierhart | Reporter's Privilege | News | June 2, 2014
News
June 2, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday it will not hear an appeal by New York Times reporter James Risen, who has been subpoenaed to testify in a government leaks prosecution.

Risen could now face jail or fines if he refuses to testify.

Joel Kurtzberg, Risen’s attorney, said the ball is now in the government’s court. Risen was never held in contempt because the trial court initially ruled that he was protected by the reporter’s privilege and did not have to testify. An appellate court later reversed, and that decision now stands.

Therefore, the government will have to pursue Risen’s testimony again in trial court, Kurtzberg said.

“If they say they are going to do that, we will make clear that [Risen] is not going to testify and then there would have to be a contempt hearing,” Kurtzberg said.

Supreme Court: Secret Service immune from Bush protesters' suit

Cindy Gierhart | Newsgathering | News | May 27, 2014
News
May 27, 2014

The Supreme Court unanimously held Tuesday that Secret Service officials could not be sued by protesters who alleged a First Amendment violation for being moved away from then-President George W. Bush while Bush supporters were allowed to remain.

Steven R. Shapiro, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, expressed disappointment over the Court's decision. While the ACLU recognizes the obvious need for security surrounding the president, he said "that does not include the right to shield the President from criticism . . . . In our view, the jury should have been allowed to decide whether this case was actually about security or censorship."

Ohio Attorney General argues against state election-related speech law in U.S. Supreme Court

Cindy Gierhart | Libel | News | March 5, 2014
News
March 5, 2014

The Ohio Attorney General argued against its own election-related speech law in a brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.

In Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether two organizations can challenge an Ohio law that makes it a crime to knowingly make false statements about a candidate for office or ballot proposition.

Rather than defend the law, the Ohio Attorney General admitted it “raise[s] a number of potential constitutional issues.”

Supreme Court rules against protester, avoids First Amendment claim

Emily Grannis | News | February 27, 2014
News
February 27, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday unanimously declined to address the First Amendment claims of a protester who was banned from a military base , deciding the case solely on property ownership grounds.

Anti-war activist John Apel was banned from Vandenberg Air Force base in 2003 after he was involved in a protest that included throwing blood on a sign at the base. He was arrested and served two months in jail and was barred from the base for three years. After he began protesting there again in 2008, the base commander permanently banned Apel.

Reporters Committee panel discusses technology and transparency in the Supreme Court

Latara Appleby | Secret Courts | News | October 25, 2013
News
October 25, 2013

Supreme Court correspondents, academics, lawyers and a state supreme court chief justice discussed court transparency at the National Press Club today, with one panelist saying that one day cameras in the highest court will become a reality.

"I think it's inevitable," said panelist Pete Williams, the justice correspondent for NBC News.

U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to Texas Open Meetings Act, sealed records challenge

Lilly Chapa | Freedom of Information | News | March 26, 2013
News
March 26, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear arguments about the constitutionality of the criminal sanction provisions of the Texas Open Meetings Act, ending the long-running legal battle over a statute that prohibits government officials from talking about public business in private.

The Court also declined to hear a case involving a First Amendment defense to a penalty for disclosing sealed records.