Supreme Court extends deadline in Hosty v. Carter case

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Supreme Court has given attorneys for an Illinois college administrator sued for censoring the school’s student newspaper another month to file a response to the students’ petition asking the Court to hear the case.

The deadline for a response from former Governors State University Dean Patricia Carter was set for today, but it has been pushed back to Dec. 28, according to the Supreme Court’s Web site. Because of the new deadline, the Court will not make a decision about whether or not to hear the case until early 2006.

In the Hosty v. Carter case, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held on June 20 that college administrators have the same ability to censor school-sponsored publications as high school administrators were given under a 1988 Supreme Court decision in Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier.

Applying the Hazelwood decision to colleges would give college administrators greater control over some school-sponsored student publications. The Hosty decision marks the first time the Supreme Court has been asked to decide whether Hazelwood applies to a college student newspaper.

The case began at Governors State University when student journalists Margaret Hosty, Jeni Porche and Steven Barba sued Carter in January 2001 for requiring prior approval of their student newspaper.

The students filed a petition in September asking the Supreme Court to hear the case after the 7th Circuit ruled in Carter’s favor.

The Supreme Court clerk sent a letter to Carter’s attorneys at the Illinois Attorney General’s Office Oct. 27 requesting a response to the student’s petition after her attorneys initially waived their right to respond. Some Supreme Court followers have said the letter requesting a response is a sign that the Court is interested in the case.

Kim Peterson, SPLC staff writer

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