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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

An Open Court

An Open Court
The New York Times  -  EDITORIAL  -  September 18, 2011

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press proposed last week that the Supreme Court adopt a new rule saying every document filed in or by the court “shall be available to the public for inspection” unless it orders that the document be sealed. That presumption of openness would be in the interest of everyone — the Supreme Court, lawyers who practice before the court, scholars who study the court and, of course, the American public.  It is sometimes necessary to restrict public access to court documents — to protect privacy, genuine secrets and people in danger, and for other reasons. But in the last 18 years, the court has gone from allowing records to be sealed in two cases per term to 24 last term out of 9,066 petitions for review. While the fraction remains tiny, the increase is disturbing.  Informed self-government is essential to a healthy democracy. The First Amendment’s guarantees of free speech and press are intended to ensure that. It is important that the Supreme Court’s rules reflect its long-stated preference for the open administration of justice.  The court has ruled that access to proceedings and records in criminal cases can be limited only in exceptional circumstances. Federal appeals courts have said so convincingly about civil proceedings, including records. But the Supreme Court needs a clear rule that ensures transparency whenever possible.  The Reporters Committee urges the court to adopt a rule about the presumption of public access like that of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Judge Frank Easterbrook of that circuit wrote, “The political branches of government claim legitimacy by election, judges by reason. Any step that withdraws an element of the judicial process from public view makes the ensuing decision look more like fiat.” His argument is compelling.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, openness in courts in this country runs against the selfish greed behind those who profit from our system of law. Forget it.

Anonymous said...

The Supreme Court has already been ruined. I agree, it's too late.

Truth Justice and America Changed said...

We ceased being a government of laws reverted to become a government of the whims and corruption of noblemen lifetime judges, noblemen lifetime politicians and noblemen lifetime bureaucrats, or more properly just swine made noble with lipstick.

Anonymous said...

One big problem here is that the attorney/Judges don't want this because then they can't pull their special deals

Anonymous said...

Gee, I thought we lived in a free and open country and that's the way it is now! You mean to say they hide things in the courts and average citizens don't have the ability to see anything and everything! THE REVOLUTION STARTS NOW! The first thing we should do is hang all the Judges and court personel and then seal all their files forever!

Anonymous said...

Lippman wants to close the process to the public - lawyers want to run the show

Retired attorney said...

The whole 'justice system' is a big fraud, so when does the revolution start?

Anonymous said...

It started three weeks ago in Zuccotti Park.

Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:

               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2