Court Clerks Must Respect Right of Timely Access to Civil Complaints
Participated in an amicus brief (with the Reporters Committee and other amici) filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Courthouse News Service v. Schaefer. This case concerns the First Amendment right of timely access to civil complaints. CNS filed suit against the clerks of two Virginia circuit courts after the clerks began delaying access to newly filed civil complaints until the complaints were “processed.” After a bench trial, the district court held in favor of CNS, finding that the clerks deprived CNS of its right of contemporaneous access. The clerks appealed to the Fourth Circuit. The amicus brief supports CNS, arguing that timely access to civil complaints before processing benefits the public and press, and that the First Amendment right of access applies to civil complaints and requires access contemporaneously with filing.