An Exercise in Inaction

I never worry about action, only inaction.”

– Winston Churchill

The Louisiana Supreme Court’s decision not to take up a case is sometimes just as important as a decision to grant Writs and issue a ruling. Recently, much attention has been given to the Court’s decision not to grant a Writ filed by Louisiana State University.

On August 28, 2013, the Court denied a Writ brought by LSU in a case filed by local media outlets in the 19th JDC demanding access to information regarding LSU’s presidential candidates. The media appears interested in the interview process and why only one of the 35 candidates was formally interviewed. The media outlets argue that the information concerning the candidates is “public record” under Louisiana law.

Prior to the Writ filing, the state District Court had ruled that the information was public record and ordered LSU to produce the requested documents. LSU did not comply with this order. On August 14, 2013, LSU was held in contempt of court and fined $500 per day. LSU filed a Writ to the Louisiana Supreme Court. The Louisiana Supreme Court denied the Writ, stating that LSU had a “sufficient remedy” through a suspensive appeal. The Court offered no further explanation of its ruling.

Attorneys on both sides have publically offered differing opinions as to the significance of the Court’s Writ denial. The attorney for the media outlets stated to Nola.com that LSU now must comply with the district court’s order and produce the requested information. However, the attorney for LSU argues that the Court’s Writ denial is functionally a “stay” of the District Court’s order because the Supreme Court specifically expressed that LSU could file a suspensive appeal. LSU has expressed an intention to appeal the entire case to the Louisiana First Circuit.

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