On January 25, the Alliance signed on to the Reporters Committee brief filed in the Supreme Court of the United States. In Egbert v. Boule, a citizen is suing a federal agent for violations of his First and Fourth Amendment rights. At issue is whether there is a right to sue federal officers for constitutional violations—specifically, First Amendment violations. In Bivens, a 1971 Supreme Court case, the Court recognized the right to sue for damages for Fourth Amendment violations, later expanded to include Fifth and Eighth Amendment violations. The Ninth Circuit found that there was a right to recover from federal officers who violated First Amendment rights, and the federal officer appealed. The amicus brief argues that First Amendment damages should also be recoverable under Bivens, especially in light of the recent attacks on the press by law enforcement. The Supreme Court granted cert in the case, and oral arguments are scheduled for March 2nd of this year.
Members of the News/Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.