Supreme Court extends deadline in Hosty v. Carter

The U.S. 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 Nov. 28, but it was 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 to hear the case until early 2006.

The case, Hosty v. Carter, 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.

In June, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that college administrators have the same ability to censor school-sponsored publications as high school administrators were given under a 1988 Supreme Court decision.

The students filed a petition in September asking the Supreme Court to hear the case.

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.

SPLC View: Some Supreme Court followers have said the letter requesting a response is a sign that the Court is interested in the case. Long-time Supreme Court reporter Lyle Denniston wrote on his blog that the letter shows “the Supreme Court is showing some interest in the case.” Denniston has covered the court for various newspapers such as The Baltimore Sun and The Boston Globe over the course of nearly 50 years. “This does not assure review by the justices, but it does indicate an interest in the question at stake,” Denniston wrote on his blog.