Letter to Supreme Court: Make live audio streaming permanent, accessible

The National Freedom of Information Coalition and 75 other organizations signed a letter urging Chief Justice Roberts and the Supreme Court to permanently provide live audio access to oral arguments. “Providing live audio access to cases during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has convincingly demonstrated the public’s appetite to observe the operations of the Court,” reads…


Missing From Supreme Court’s Election Cases: Reasons for Its Rulings

At least nine times since April, the Supreme Court has issued rulings in election disputes. Or perhaps “rulings” is too generous a word for those unsigned orders, which addressed matters as consequential as absentee voting during the pandemic in Alabama, South Carolina and Texas, and the potential disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of people with felony convictions in Florida. Most of…


South Carolina Supreme Court hears Project Jackson case

Oral arguments on the Project Jackson case were presented Tuesday before the S.C. Supreme Court.

The case of Steve Donohue v. the City of North Augusta, Mayor Lark Jones and the North Augusta City Council went before the state’s highest court with the issues of proving blight in a Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, district, and Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, violations coming under question from the five Supreme Court Justices.


Does FOIA cover court records? No, Virginia court administrators say

The Virginia Supreme Court's Office of the Executive Secretary has repeatedly refused a request from the Daily Press to release its compilation of case records from most of the state's circuit courts.

The record the Daily Press sought, and that the Supreme Court used to release, compiles summary information about almost every circuit court case in the state.


Pa. legal experts call on Castille, Kane to release justices’ email

Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald Castille and Attorney General Kathleen Kane must release an estimated 4,000 emails exchanged between Supreme Court justices and the attorney general's office to preserve public trust in Pennsylvania's judicial system, a coalition of legal experts said Tuesday.

In an open letter to Castille and Kane, the group said the release of hundreds of sexually explicit emails that retired Justice Seamus P. McCaffery exchanged with an agent in the attorney general's office was a first step toward transparency.


Thomas Peele Watchdog Column: Waiting for transparency from Legislature? Don’t hold your breath

There is the goose, of course, but there's also the gander, an old clichÈ goes: What's good for one ought to be the same for the other. But let's not confuse them when discussing the duplicity of California's Legislature when it comes to transparency.

The Legislature, of course, passes laws that affect other branches of government as well as itself. As the state struggles with the archaic Public Records Act (PRA), with its dozens of exemptions, weak disclosure deadlines and lack of enforcement, lawmakers only nibble around its edges.


Scoppe: The SC Supreme Court and the Freedom of Information Act

The day after the state Supreme Court issued its second ruling in a month scaling back what our government has to do in public, I got a note from someone close to the chief justice that said, “It seems pretty clear the Court in this case and Lambries is telling the Legislature to revise the FOIA.”

That same day, the head of the S.C. Press Association foreshadowed what lots of critics would say when he complained that the court once again had ruled against openness and “punted important issues back to the Legislature for change.”


Supreme Court of Canada: limits on government disclosure include policy options

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has issued a unanimous decision in John Doe v Ontario (Finance) 2014 SCC 36 that outlines the parameters on the ability of the public to access information under Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) that is prepared for the purposes of informing the deliberative processes of government bodies.


Supreme Court: Prayer is allowed to open government meetings

Prayers that open town council meetings do not violate the Constitution even if they routinely stress Christianity, a divided Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The court said in 5-4 decision that the content of the prayers is not significant as long as they do not denigrate non-Christians or proselytize.

The ruling by the court's conservative majority was a victory for the town of Greece, N.Y., outside of Rochester. The Obama administration sided with the town.