“Are open-court efforts waning?,” by The Editorial Board, Oregonian, September 09, 2009
“In Oregon, news organizations still fight for public access, aided by the constitution
The New York Times reported recently about the seeming decline in the efforts by news media organizations and others to keep the nation’s courts open to the public.
“The days of powerful newspapers with ample legal budgets appear to be numbered,” Gerard Kleinrock, a Georgia public defender, wrote recently in a Supreme Court brief. “Will underfunded bloggers be able to carry the financial burdens of opening our courtrooms?”
It’s hard to dispute Kleinrock’s observation, and it’s hard to suggest that the answer to his question, generally speaking, would be anything except no.
That’s not to suggest that news organizations have lost interest and others shouldn’t be interested in open courtrooms. For that matter some, the American Civil Liberties Union in particular, have remained stalwart in putting their money in the pot to advance the cause. But, as anyone knows who’s been involved in a court fight over principle, things get expensive fast, the courts move glacially, and nobody in the news media has extra money lying around. …
…. Earlier this summer, Oregon Attorney General John Kroger launched a review of Oregon’s open-records and open-meetings laws, with an eye toward proposing revisions. It’s a worthy effort and one that does not come a moment too soon.” (link to full article)