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.