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U.S. Supreme Court

After SCOTUSblog is denied a press pass, publisher vows to appeal

Posted Apr 17, 2014 6:10 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Tom Goldstein

The Senate Press Gallery has denied a press pass to the highly regarded SCOTUSblog, dooming for now its bid for Supreme Court credentials.

The decision has SCOTUSblog publisher Tom Goldstein vowing to appeal and, if that is denied, to litigate the issue. In a post at SCOTUSblog, Goldstein explains that the U.S. Supreme Court’s longstanding policy is to look to credentials issued by the Senate. “SCOTUSblog is not now, and has never been, credentialed by the Supreme Court,” Goldstein writes.

The Senate Press Gallery not only denied the press pass to SCOTUSblog, it also said it would not renew a press pass issued last year to veteran Supreme Court journalist Lyle Denniston as a reporter for SCOTUSblog. Denniston’s SCOTUSblog credentials expire next month, but he still has a press pass for his work at WBUR in Boston, which he also can use for SCOTUSblog reporting. The Supreme Court also grants public seats for cases being covered by blog editor Amy Howe.

Goldstein writes that he thought the credentials problem was solved after Denniston received the Senate press pass last year. The blog forwarded the credentials to the Supreme Court, but the court did not recognize it. Instead, the court said it was reviewing its credentialing policy.

"We plan to appeal the Senate Gallery’s credentialing decision," Goldstein writes. "We do not have a written list of the reasons for the denial, which makes the process more difficult. Our impression is also that the appeal may go to the same group that denied the application in the first place. If the appeal is denied, then we expect to litigate the issue. We’re now coordinating all those efforts with other groups that kindly have offered to support us."

SCOTUSblog is the first blog to receive a Peabody award and is a recipient of the ABA’s Silver Gavel Award.

Poynter noted the story and posted a photo from the Supreme Court’s press room last October showing a list of which reporters have Supreme Court credentials.

The Senate Press Gallery's list of requirements for press credentials can be read here.

Hat tip to @BobAmbrogi.

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