For the first time in the history of the Silha Center, the Center drafted and filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in August in a case that will be argued before the United States Supreme Court this December. The brief was written by Silha Center Director Jane Kirtley with the assistance of Silha Fellow Doug Peters and Silha Research Assistant Thomas Corbett. The brief is available on the Silha Center's Web site under "Resources" at www.silha.umn.edu.
OIC v. Favish (Docket no. 02-954), is a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit stemming from the efforts of Allan Favish, a private citizen who practices law in Los Angeles, to gain access to the death scene photographs of Vincent Foster, the White House deputy counsel to former President Clinton who was allegedly a victim of a suicide. A full story about the case appears on page 24 of this issue of the Silha Bulletin.
In response to a request for public input from the Department of Homeland Security, the Silha Center filed comments in June on the proposed rules governing the handling of critical infrastructure information, citing several flaws in the rules, such as unclear definitions and for restricts on information sharing between federal, state, and local government agencies. The Comments were drafted by Kirtley and Corbett. A complete story about the proposed rules appears on page 39 of this issue of the Silha Bulletin.
On April 30, Kirtley, with the assistance of Silha Fellow Elaine Hargrove-Simon, filed comments on the Draft Recommendation on the Right to Reply in the On-Line Media for the Council of Europe. If adopted into law, individuals or corporations with Web sites could be compelled to post statements from those who disagree with the content of their site. In June, the Draft Recommendation was revised under the new caption, Draft Recommendation on the Right of Reply in the New Media Environment, which contained very few changes from the original. On September 14, the Silha Center responded with a summary reiterating its initial concerns.
In late August the Silha Center also joined more than two dozen media organizations in an amicus brief in McKevitt v. Pallasch, a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals (7th Cir.) concerning the scope of the federal qualified privilege protecting journalists' sources. This and other documents are posted on the Silha Center's Resource page at www.silha.umn.edu.
Silha Fellow and Bulletin Editor