Two First Amendment groups have requested permission to file briefs in support of a public records lawsuit brought by The Tennessean and other media organizations that goes before the state’s Supreme Court in May seeking evidence in a rape case against four former Vanderbilt University football players.
The Tennessean, eight media organizations and the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government filed suit against Metro Nashville last fall seeking access to records in the case that were not created by government entities but were in the hands of police. Those records include text messages between Vanderbilt football coaches and players.
The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled against the media coalition, but in January the state’s highest court agreed to review the case.
The Supreme Court granted permission for two groups not affiliated with the case to file amicus briefs in support of the state’s television stations and newspapers. They are the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press and the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters.
Those two groups last week asked the court to allow the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression and the University of Virginia School of Law First Amendment Clinic, both based in Charlottesville, Va., to also file amicus briefs in support of the media coalition’s case.