Magazine article American Libraries

Connecticut Librarian Must Keep Quiet in Patriot Act Case

Magazine article American Libraries

Connecticut Librarian Must Keep Quiet in Patriot Act Case

Article excerpt

In an opinion issued October 7, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg denied an emergency appeal filed by the American Civil Liberties Union that would have lifted the USA Patriot Act's gag provision in the case of Doe v. Gonzales, which involves a Connecticut library organization (AL, Oct., p. 12-13).

Ginsburg, who oversees cases from the Second Circuit, said she took into account the fact that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan "will hear argument promptly and render its decision with appropriate care and dispatch" in an expedited appeals process. She also cited the district court's original decision to lift the gag order that essentially "held unconstitutional--as applied to the facts of his case--a provision of an Act of Congress. A decision of that moment warrants cautious review."

The ACLU filed its appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court October 3. The American Library Association, Freedom to Read Foundation, Association of American Publishers, and American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression filed an amicus brief the same day supporting the ACLU's request.

The amicus brief emphasized that the New York Times had already identified the plaintiff organization in a September 21 article as Library Connection, a nonprofit cooperative of 26 public and academic libraries with a central office in Windsor, Connecticut. "The speculation highlights the absurdity of the permanent gag order and puts an ALA member in an untenable bind," the brief stated. …

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