Media Alert: Following a Federal Court Order, Tennessee Supreme Court’s Advisory Commission to Livestream Quarterly Rule-Making Meeting

April 3, 2024

WHAT: At 9 A.M. CDT on Friday, April 5, the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Advisory Commission will have its quarterly rule-making meeting. The virtual event will be livestreamed, in compliance with a federal court order requiring the state judicial officials and attorneys that comprise the Commission to allow the press and public access to these rulemaking meetings.

Although its federal counterpart has had its court rulemaking meetings open to the public and press for over 35 years, the Tennessee Advisory Commission closed its once-public meetings to the public and press in 2018.

In June 2022, the Liberty Justice Center filed a federal lawsuit against Michelle Long, Director of the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts (“AOC”), on behalf of journalist Dan McCaleb, arguing that closing the meetings violated the public’s First Amendment right of access. In March 2023, the court issued a preliminary injunction agreeing with McCaleb that the First Amendment attached to meetings, requiring the Advisory Commission to livestream its quarterly meetings while the litigation proceeds.

AOC Director Long elected not to appeal the preliminary injunction, and the Liberty Justice Center is pressing forward in the lawsuit to make the preliminary injunction permanent and ensure that the public and press always have access to these and other public meetings. Read more about the Liberty Justice Center’s work for the public’s right of access here.

WHEN: 9 A.M. Central Time, Friday, April 5th

WHERE: The virtual event will be livestreamed here on the Tennessee Courts’ secondary YouTube channel, TNCourts2.

More information about the meeting is available on the Tennessee Courts’ website, which describes the upcoming event as the “April Rules Commission Meeting.”

ISSUE BACKGROUND: McCaleb v. Long was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee in Nashville on June 13, 2022.

The Liberty Justice Center’s case filings are available here.


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