Free Speech Isn't Free: Court Barring Access To Brief About Free Speech
from the irony-is-free dept
One of the tenets behind the First Amendment and the concept of supporting free speech is the idea that you're protecting the right to speech that you don't like just as much as speech that you do like. That's why it's somewhat troubling to find out some of the details behind the First Amendment issues raised in a case, which involves the court sealing an amicus brief filed by the Institute for Justice and the Reason Foundation. It's not clear why the brief has been sealed, but, apparently, it's got something to do with the fact that the judge, who issued the order, didn't want people discussing the case -- a free speech case, remember -- publicly:
Liptak, who has seen part of the secret 10th Circuit order that keeps the amicus brief sealed, says one reason the appeals court gave for its decision is that allowing distribution of the brief would help I.J. and Reason publicly make their case that Reynolds is being persecuted for exercising her First Amendment rights. One of their goals, the Court said, "is clearly to discuss in public amici's agenda." Obviously, we can't have that.Most of the other background surrounding the case makes the argument that the woman, who is upset about being silenced, is annoying and irritating. However, as the folks at Reason point out, that's hardly a crime.
It bears emphasizing that the I.J./Reason brief is based entirely on publicly available information. It does not divulge any confidential grand jury information, protection of which is the rationale for sealing the documents related to Reynolds' case. The only purpose served by sealing it is to make talking about the case harder.