US Supreme Court rejects prison First Amendment case

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to take up a First Amendment dispute about a magazine that has been blocked from distribution to Florida prison inmates.

The Supreme Court, as is common, did not detail its reasons for declining to take up an appeal filed by Prison Legal News.

A U.S. district judge and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the state Department of Corrections, which has blocked distribution of Prison Legal News because prison officials say advertisements in the magazine pose security risks.

The department has cited ads for such things as three-way phone calling services, which can be used to facilitate crimes. But in a petition filed in September asking the Supreme Court to take up the case, attorneys for Prison Legal News argued that “censorship” by the department violates free-speech and free-press rights.

Prison Legal News received support in briefs filed by groups ranging from media and religious organizations to Americans for Prosperity and The Cato Institute.