MADISON – Former Gov. Scott Walker is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a Wisconsin press freedom case in which Gov. Tony Evers’ managers barred conservative reporters from covering events in the executive press.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) submitted a friend at the high court on behalf of Walker, a Republican.
John K. MacIver Institute v. Evers presents to the court a critical dispute over the power of state actors to restrict press freedom by selecting and choosing which news organizations have access to information on matters of public importance.
In 2019, journalists at the MacIver Institute were intentionally excluded from press briefings, media alerts and public events hosted by the governor. Empower Wisconsin executive director MD Kittle, who worked at MacIver at the time, was one of the journalists banned from attending the governor’s closed-door budget briefing with the press.
The Freedom Justice Center, a Chicago-based public interest law firm, filed a lawsuit in April 2019 in the United States District Court, arguing that Evers’ actions violate, among other things, the free press clause of the first amendment. After the lower court rulings, Liberty Justice Center appealed the case to the United States Supreme Court.
“Governor Evers’ treatment of the press presents unique concerns about the First Amendment and equal protection. The Court’s review is warranted to ensure that government officials are not allowed to erode press freedom by restricting access to the press without sufficient justification, ”said Anthony LoCoco, WILL’s deputy lawyer .
WILL’s amicus brief on behalf of the former governor argues for a decision in the United States. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal which sided with Evers applied the wrong legal doctrine to the case. WILL urges the Supreme Court to take the case in part so that it can determine whether Evers violated the equal protection clause, which the Seventh Circuit failed to do.
Walker, who served two terms as the 45th governor of Wisconsin, is a strong supporter of transparency in government and a strong free press. In 2020, Walker became president of the Young America’s Foundation (YAF), a non-profit organization committed to ensuring that a growing number of young Americans understand and be inspired by ideas of individual freedom, advocacy strong national, free enterprise and traditional values. . YAF publishes the New guard and Libertas, and its National Journalism Center has trained future journalists in the values of responsible, balanced and accurate reporting since 1977.