Magazine article Information Management

Supreme Court: Petitions Not Private

Magazine article Information Management

Supreme Court: Petitions Not Private

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In an 8-1 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the names of individuals who sign petitions should be made public.

The decision stemmed from a 2009 Washington state bill that expanded the state's domestic partnership law. According to National Public Radio (NPR), opponents of the bill collected 120,000 signatures for a ballot measure to repeal it. However, Washington voters chose to uphold it, expanding the rights of same-sex couples.

Individuals who signed the repeal petition feared harassment if their names became public, so they challenged Washington's Public Records Act in court to keep their names secret. They argued that signing a petition is speech that is protected from disclosure, NPR reported.

But the Supreme Court disagreed, ruling that such disclosure does not violate the First Amendment. Washington's secretary of state, Sam Reed, called it a victory for "open government, transparency in government, and the people's right to know."

The justices did, however, leave the door open to exceptions. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.