Case involves Governor Evers’ decision to exclude certain journalists from press briefings
The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) submitted an amicus to the U.S. Supreme Court, on behalf of former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, urging the high court to take a press freedom case in Wisconsin. John K. MacIver Institute v. Evers presents the court with a critical dispute over the power of state actors to curtail press freedom by picking and choosing which press outlets receive access to briefings on matters of public importance.
The Quote: WILL Deputy Counsel, Anthony LoCoco, said, “Governor Evers’ treatment of the press presents unique First Amendment and Equal Protection concerns. The Court’s review is warranted to ensure that government officials are not permitted to erode press freedom by restricting press access without sufficient justification.”
Background: In 2019, reporters from the John K. MacIver Institute were intentionally excluded from press briefings, media alerts, and public events hosted by Governor Tony Evers. The Liberty Justice Center, a Chicago-based public interest law firm, filed a lawsuit in April 2019 in U.S. District Court arguing the actions of Governor Evers violate, among other things, the First Amendment’s Free Press Clause. After decisions in the lower courts, Liberty Justice Center is appealing the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
WILL’s amicus, on behalf of former Governor Scott Walker, argues the decision in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals applied the wrong legal doctrine to the case. WILL urges the Supreme Court to take the case in part so it can determine whether Governor Evers violated the Equal Protection Clause, which the Seventh Circuit did not do.
Scott Walker was the 45th Governor of the State of Wisconsin, and is a strong supporter of transparency in government and a robust free press. In 2020, Walker became president of Young America’s Foundation (“YAF”), a non-profit organization committed to ensuring that increasing numbers of young Americans understand and are inspired by the ideas of individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise, and traditional values. YAF publishes the New Guard and Libertas, and its National Journalism Center has trained aspiring journalists in the values of responsible, balanced, and accurate reporting since 1977.
- WILL’s Amicus, October 12, 2021