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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Pierce County Court Orders Paper Not to Publish Story

You read that headline correctly. And, yes, it happened in America.

"Two years ago, a small town bumped into a big freedom – the freedom of the press guaranteed by the First Amendment.
The town was Roy. The press was the Nisqually Valley News. It produced one of the rarest violations of the First Amendment: court-ordered censorship to protect a public official from embarrassment."

Michele Earl-Hubbard and Greg Overstreet of Allied Law Group are quoted because both were involved in the court case to end the censorship. Note that Attorney General Rob McKenna personally reviewed the State's court papers to overturn the censorship on his BlackBerry. He's a busy guy, but this was really serious.

How appropriate that this little story, now forgotten by most, is being retold by the Tacoma News Tribune in its Independence Day editorial. The Declaration of Independence 231 years ago had a whole lot to do with preventing government from prohibiting newspapers from publishing. Think about it.