ACLU Comment on SCOTUS Ruling Declaring Georgia Law Free to the Public

April 27, 2020 11:00 am

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court this morning ruled that the state of Georgia cannot paywall access to the statutes, court opinions, and annotations that make up its official law.

Below is comment from Vera Eidelman, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, in response:

“This ruling is a victory for the First Amendment. No state should be able to charge individuals hundreds of dollars to see or talk about the laws that govern them. The official work of judges and legislators rightly belongs to the public.”

The ACLU and NYU School of Law Professor Jason Schultz submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in the case arguing that the state cannot curb the public’s ability to discuss the functioning of government or limit the public’s ability to petition the state by claiming a copyright in the works judges, legislators, and executives create while governing. Holding otherwise would enable the government to determine who can speak, what people can say, and for what price, about government work.

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