First Amendment Legal Fight Averted: Judge Lifts Order Barring Reporter From Publishing Info

from the well-that-was-quick dept

Last week, we wrote about a judge who issued a temporary restraining order on the National Law Journal, which was about to publish a story claiming that the FTC was investigating POM, makers of pomegranate juice. Apparently, the judge had already ordered the documents of such an investigation be sealed, but a court clerk had been slow in getting around to it, and the reporter found the info while it was still public. Given that the info was public at the time, the NLJ felt it had every right to publish it, and pointed out that the First Amendment seemed to agree. That's when the judge made her infamous statement: "Look -- if I'm throwing 80 years of First Amendment jurisprudence on its head, so be it," though (as it later came out), she also stated: "But none of that First Amendment jurisprudence, to my knowledge, is dealing with this issue. The question is, what authority do you have for the proposition that the First Amendment trumps court orders sealing files?"

Either way, the legal fight over this issue is now dead. Late last week, in part with the acceptance of POM, the judge dropped the restraining order and allowed the NLJ to publish the simple fact that the FTC was investigating. Of course, it's still not clear why that information should have been sealed anyway. But, of course, now a hell of a lot more people are aware that the FTC investigated POM.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 5:46pm

    Peer pressure is hard.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 7:01pm

    peer to peer pressure is ....

    even harder if you go against the grain
    im sure a few calls were masde

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Matt Schafer, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 7:05pm

    Finally Came to Her Senses

    It's no wonder that shortly after the brief was filed, Judge Bartnoff withdrew her order. Perhaps she realized that the United States’ Supreme Court has never upheld an order which resulted in prior restraint.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 8:13pm


    Uhm.... Your attempts at decipherable ASCII art are about as successful as Obama's war on terror in Afghanistan.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 8:24pm


    "People always like celebrities"

    What's a celebrity? You mean like Britney Spears? Who's she?

    "but I think those in uniform deserve more respect."

    Absolutely. and it's very disrespectful for Obama to fire military personnel for giving their honest opinion. They are fighting for democracy and free speech only to be punished by our government for freely expressing their opinion? How does that make sense?

    but seriously, what does your post have to do with the OP?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Jay (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 10:01pm

    Think about if the judge had done the order thru a text message. They could have had this sealed in 2 hours.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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