A brief filed Thursday by the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition and several news and journalism organizations asks the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a First Amendment records case, deemed "vital to Colorado journalism," that was brought by The Colorado Independent.

The state's high court, it says, failed to properly evaluate whether the public has a qualified constitutional right of access to the records. Allowing that decision to stand "significantly limits the right of access to court records in the state."

As The Independent's attorney, CFOIC president Steve Zansberg argued that Coloradans have a qualified First Amendment right of access to court records, citing a 1966 case in which the Longmont Times-Call challenged the constitutionality of a state statute that restricts access to court pleadings to only the parties in a case and their counsel.

Zansberg and his law firm, Ballard Spahr, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision in a 112-page petition filed Sept. 28 on The Independent's behalf. The petition argues that the Colorado court's ruling "conflicts with the rulings of this Court (SCOTUS) and the unanimous view of other state and federal appellate courts that the access right applies to these types of judicial records."

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