Drug War

Supreme Court Declines to Hear First Amendment Challenge to an Appeals Court Ruling You Still Can't Read


Robert Corn-Revere, pain treatment activist Siobhan Reynolds' lawyer, tells me the Supreme Court has declined to hear her First Amendment challenge to a grand jury investigation triggered by her advocacy on behalf of a Kansas physician. That decision leaves undisturbed the April 2010 ruling in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit upheld secret subpoenas demanding material related to Reynolds' activism. I would provide a link to the 10th Circuit's decision, but it remains sealed, along with almost all of the documents related to the case (including a friend-of-the-court brief filed on Reynolds' behalf by the Institute for Justice and the Reason Foundation, publisher of this website and Reason magazine). That means the court's reasoning in rejecting Reynolds' First Amendment arguments—and in rejecting a request to make that reasoning public—remains a matter of conjecture. Two documents you are allowed to read (both PDFs) explain why this level of secrecy, which is not necessary to prevent the revelation of confidential grand jury material, is problematic: Corn-Revere's Supreme Court petition (which is expurgated but still gets across his main points) and an uncensored brief in which the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press urged the Supreme Court to hear Reynold's appeal.

Previous coverage of the case here.

NEXT: Brian Aitken's Mistake

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  1. We don’t need no stinking Bill of Rights.

  2. All this over pain meds. Any way of knowing which justices refused to hear the case?

    1. We’re not allowed to know that either.

  3. L’etat? Ce’st moi.

  4. I’d love to see their reasoning on this one. On the face of it we have an obvious abuse of prosecutorial power to squelch free speech and freedom of association and the freedom to petition the government for redress. That stuff should be plenty interesting to the court. I guess they’d rather run over someone’s rights than open that can of worms.

  5. Ahh, how useful secret trials out of the prying eye of the public are.

  6. Irrational optimism: Maybe the facts on this case are bad and a majority of justices think a case with a better fact pattern to reign this shit in is forthcoming.

    Reality: We can’t be seen as anything less than pro “law and order”

  7. The more public attention is brought to this case, the more despicable it will look and the more pressure there will be on the court to open it up.

  8. I’m sorry, but this discussion has been added to the case notes, and as such is unavailable to be viewed by the general public.

    Court officers are on the way over now to close the thread, and might succeed at any mome-

    1. [redacted]

  9. Just invite the wikileaks guy over a cup of coffee and everything will be in the public domain in no time…

    1. This isn’t really WikiLeaks’ ball of wax.

      1. I know, it was a poor attempt at sarcasm on my part…

    2. Is it just me, or does it make others sick that Wikileaks can post military secrets on the Internet and that is just fine, but let people try and have a political discussion about the government’s intrusion into personal medical choices, and then we’re talking jail time?

      Our f?king country is so upside down I don’t even know it anymore. I’m going to go searching for a desert island where I can live a sane life somewhere instead of this insane asylum they call the USA.

      BTW, Shame on the Supreme Court for shirking their responsibility on this. That was all it was. Plain old cowardess. Clarence Thomas, WHERE ARE YOU!!!

  10. Robert Corn-Revere, pain treatment activist Siobhan Reynolds’ lawyer, tells me the Supreme Court has declined to hear her First Amendment challenge

    He’s probably risking a contempt-of-court citation by telling you that much.

  11. This is fucking unbelievable. I wouldn’t be surprised if ex-prosecutors Wise Latina and New Professionalism torpedoed it.

  12. Time for civil disobedience. These documents must be published, and the prosecutors and judges informed of the publishing. Make the sons-of-bitches put somebody in jail for talking about this. Then the Supreme Court will have to either do their goddamn job, or leave someone in jail for exercising the first amendment.

    1. The problem is that most people correctly believe that the SC will leave someone in jail for attempting to open this can of worms, and nobody wants to be that person, which is by far the most troubling aspect of this case.

      The tyrants cannot be all powerful without the help of the victims.

  13. Only 16 comments? I guess the gag order is working.

  14. Lo and BEHOLD! The Ghost of the Star Chamber lurks on America’s shores.

  15. Here are links to the sealed amicus brief filed by Reason and the Institute for Justice:
    torrent: http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/5956044

    1. looks like the pirate bay torrent link isn’t working try this: http://www.btscene.com/details…..Brief.html

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