National Press Club

Appeals Court Dismisses Challenge to Texas Open Meetings Law

September 14, 2009 | By Donna Leinwand | president@press.org

A federal appeals court has dismissed a case brought by Alpine, Texas, city council members, preserving the Texas Open Meeting Act.

The former city council members asserted the law violated their rights to exchange e-mail messages discussing city business in secret.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans dismissed the case as moot.
This amounts to a victory for journalists because it preserves the Texas Open Meetings Act.

The National Press Club had joined 22 other news organizations in an amicus by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in support of the Texas Open Meetings Act. The Reporters Committee argued that open meetings laws extend First Amendment rights by assuring citizens have access when public officials debate policy.

Along with the National Press Club, ABC, Inc., the American Society of News Editors, The Associated Press, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Bloomberg News, the E.W. Scripps Co., the Hearst Corp., MediaNews Group, the New York Times Co., the Newspaper Association of America, Newsweek Inc., the Radio-Television News Directors Association, Reuters America LLC, the Society of Professional Journalists, Stephens Media LLC, the Student Press Law Center, the Texas Association of Broadcasters, the Texas Daily Newspaper Association, the Texas Press Association, the Tribune Co. and the Washington Post joined in the brief.