MacIver Institute v. Evers: Protecting Freedom of the Press in Wisconsin

MacIver Institute v. Evers

Bill Osmulski is a seasoned Capitol news reporter for the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization and news service based in Madison, Wisconsin.

As credentialed members of the Capitol press corps, Osmulski and other MacIver News Service reporters regularly have access to state legislators and other Capitol officials. However, once Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers took office in 2019, their media access became limited.

In January 2019, Osmulski and a former MacIver colleague, Matt Kittle, asked the Governor’s Office to add them to their media distribution list. The reporters soon realized something was amiss when they did not receive a response nor a single media advisory.

As a result of this exclusion over the past seven months, it has been practically impossible for the MacIver journalists to attend the vast majority of the Governor’s public events and press conferences. For example, on February 28, 2019, Osmulski and Kittle were denied access to the Governor’s “budget briefing for the media,” which was open to 26 other members of the Capitol press corps.

The MacIver Institute and Mr. Osmulski allege that the Governor’s targeted exclusion of MacIver journalists amounts to viewpoint discrimination and is a violation of the right of equal access fundamental to freedom of the press. Additionally, the Equal Protection Clause requires that a state government grant equal treatment to its citizens. In this context, it requires that all journalists have equal access to information generally available to the news media.

Now, attorneys at the Liberty Justice Center are representing the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy and Mr. Osmulski in a lawsuit to assert their First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of the press, as well as their Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection of the laws.

Background

MacIver Institute et al., v. Evers, was filed on August 6, 2019, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.

Briefs

Complaint 08/06/2019

Affidavit of B. Healy 08/20/2019

Affidavit W. Osmulski 08/20/2019

Facts Supporting Motion for Preliminary Injunction 08/21/2019

Reply Brief on Motion for Preliminary Injunction 08/25/2019

Declaration of M. Baldauff 09/17/2019

Defendant's Brief in Opposition to Motion for Pl 09/17/2019

Defendant's Response to Facts 09/17/2019

Exhibit 2 09/17/2019

Memorandum 09/17/2019

Reply Brief for Pl 09/25/2019

Defendant's Answer 10/11/2019

Notice of Supplemental Authority 12/10/2019

Supplemental Authority Toll v Wilson Opinion 12/10/2019

Opinion and Order 03/31/2020

Order 04/14/2020

Judgment 04/14/2020

Notice of Appeal 05/14/2020

Appellant's Brief and Appendix 06/23/2020

Appellee Brief 07/23/2020

Order 08/10/2020

Appellants' Reply Brief 08/13/2020

7th Circuit Decision 04/09/2021

Final Judgment 04/09/2021

Mandate 05/03/2021

Notice of Denial for Petition 12/13/2021

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