Judge dismisses First Amendment suit against MD governor

[JURIST] US District Court Judge William D. Quarles Jr. has dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Baltimore Sun challenging on First Amendment grounds an order from Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. [official website] which barred thousands of state employees from contact with two Sun journalists. Judge Quarles dismissed the case because the newspaper was seeking more access to government officials than that afforded to a private citizen according to legal precedent from the Fourth Circuit and the US Supreme Court. Sun Editor Tim Franklin announced the newspaper would file an appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] and would seek an expedited hearing before the court. Ehrlich issued the order last year after he felt Sun State House bureau chief David Nitkin and columnist Michael Olesker were not objectively covering his administration. The Sun filed suit [PDF complaint] in December contending the order violated the First Amendment [text] rights of the two journalists by denying them the same opportunities to solicit information as other citizens and news organizations. Read Judge Quarles order [PDF]. The Baltimore Sun has more on this story and continuing coverage of the Ehrlich order.

 

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