In early April, Chief Justice John Roberts visited the Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon to observe arguments related to an environmental moot court advocacy competition.
Naturally, as The Oregonian reports, undergraduate journalist Anthony Ruiz wanted to cover the event for The Pioneer Log, the private school’s student-run weekly newspaper. He wrote a generally flattering article about the judge’s visit to the 80th-ranked law school in all the land (says U.S. News).
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.