Right To Be Forgotten, Expungement Laws Raise New Challenges on the 40th Anniversary of Cox Broadcasting v. Cohn
Forty years ago, in Cox Broadcasting Corp. v. Cohn, the U.S. Supreme Court firmly established the First Amendment right to accurately report facts and allegations contained in public court records. With its clear, bright-line rule, the Court extended important protections to journalists and guaranteed to the public greater transparency for the administration of justice.
The Supreme Court, for the very most part, has adhered to the strength of its pronouncement in the Cox Broadcasting case. Today, however, developing legal trends in other forums—including the “right to be forgotten” rulings in Europe, California’s “online eraser” law for minors, and the growing expungement movement in United States legislatures — pose serious threats to the black-and-white protection that the Justices extended decades ago.