Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Rethinking Press Rights of Equal Access

15 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2009 Last revised: 13 Oct 2009

Luke Milligan

University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law

Date Written: February 28, 2009


The prevailing approach to First Amendment equal-access litigation, turning on the "general inclusivity" of government access, is deeply flawed. The standard has proved to be, in the end, exceedingly permissive, hopelessly vague, and, perhaps most importantly, theoretically incompatible with the Supreme Court's emerging view that access is a form of government subsidy. This essay calls on the courts to abandon their reliance on inclusiveness, and, in its place, tailor the definition of "access" to include only those government acts conducted "pursuant to official duties." The resulting doctrine would be one worthy of the federal courts -- durable, coherent, and duly respectful of the traditional relations between public officials and the press.

Suggested Citation

Milligan, Luke, Rethinking Press Rights of Equal Access (February 28, 2009). Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 65, No. 1103, 2008; University of Louisville School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series No. 2009-07. Available at SSRN:

Luke Milligan (Contact Author)

University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law ( email )

Wilson W. Wyatt Hall
Louisville, KY 40292
United States


Paper statistics

Abstract Views