At Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, undergraduate journalist Anthony Ruiz wrote an article about Chief Justice John Robers visit to the nation’s 80th-ranked law school.
Eric Owens of The Daily Caller reports on what happened next:
School officials then apparently strongly encouraged the newspaper not to publish the story. The reason for the censorship? The head of an American law school wanted the Supreme Court’s press office to approve the story before it was printed.
The school’s dean, Robert Klonoff, dispatched Ruiz’s story to a couple of Supreme Court press representatives. “Please let me know if it meets with your approval,” the dean wrote, according to The Oregonian.
Despite strenuous objections from Ruiz and his editor, Zibby Pillote, The Pioneer Log spiked the story because the Supreme Court’s press office didn’t respond to Klonoff’s request by the paper’s Wednesday publication deadline.
Officials with the Supreme Court have since graciously called the incident “a misunderstanding.”
“We do coordinate with organizations hosting a justice by reviewing drafts of promotional materials,” Kathleen Arberg, director of public information, told The Oregonian. “But we do not ask to review news coverage.”
The Pioneer Log’s editor, Pillotte, told The Daily Caller that she has serious misgivings about the incident.
“I really regret not just going ahead and publishing the story,” Pillote explained, “but I felt extremely pressured by Lise Harwin, head of public relations. She sent me an email saying that Lewis & Clark respects freedom of the press, but she said this is a special case.”
According to Pillote, Harwin also asserted that “the school was following the rules of the Justice Department.”
Harwin told The Oregonian that school officials believed that the high court would want to evaluate the story before it went to press. She called the court’s press guidelines “rigorous and fairly exhaustive.”