In Fight Over Court Records, Free Law Project Joins Others in Asking SCOTUS to Review Sixth Circuit Ruling

Michael Lissner

A bedrock principle of our democracy is court transparency. All Americans have a long-established Constitutional right to attend hearings and review cases. This keeps courts open, honest, and fair. But in a recent Sixth Circuit case, Grae v. Corrections Corp. of America, a new, higher standard may have been created for those who wish to access court records.

The historical standard, and the standard held by the First, Third, Fourth, and Eleventh Circuits, is that the only requirement that is needed to review court records is an interest in doing so. In this case, however, the Sixth Circuit suggests that an individual seeking a document may not have standing to access it without suffering damages.

In other words, if you are not financially impacted by not having a document, you may not be able to have it. Simply wishing to access, review, or disseminate a filing may no longer be enough.

That's why today we are proud to join the First Amendment Coalition, Cato Institute, and Eugene Volokh to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court encouraging the Justices to review and clarify the Sixth Circuit's decision. We hope that the Court will note the circuit split on this matter, and the salience of this issue, and take it up during its next term.

To learn more about the case or to read the petition for review from the affected party, please click below.

Download Our Amicus Brief Download the Party's Certiorari Petition

We owe special thanks to Eugene Volokh for leading this effort.

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