Thecollateral bar rule is a rule that seeks to protect the law of theland by preventing people from breaking it before challenging thesame law or a set of laws in a competent court of law. According toCalvert & Pember (2010) collateral bar rule states that the actof disobeying an order on the ground that one perceived it to beunconstitutional before challenging in the court of law forfeits theright to challenge that order in the future. This implies thatindividuals or a group of people who deliberately violates thegovernment orders with the objection of informing the government thatits orders are unconstitutional cannot seek the court’s injunctionto the same set of orders afterwards. For example, in Walker v.Birmingham, the Supreme Court of the United States enforced thecontempt of the citation against people who had already disobeyedrestraint orders before filing motions that could dissolve the order(Labunski, 2000). The objective of this rule was to prevent ascenario in which people become judges in their own cases and toprotect the constitutional mandate (deciding the constitutionality oflaws and order) of the court.
Falseright refers to a tort pertaining to the protection of anindividual’s privacy from false publication. However, a successfulclaim of false light requires the defendant to prove several things.First, the plaintiff should furnish the court with sufficientevidence that the allegation has already been communicated to thepublic (Long, 2013). Secondly, it must be proven that the publicizedstatement was highly offensive to a given or a reasonable person.Third, it must be proven that the statement was false by showing themisrepresentation of activities, character, belief, or history.Lastly, the plaintiff has a duty to prove that the sued party was atfault when they made the false implication (Long, 2013). Although theaforementioned elements are common in most states, some states mayinclude additional elements as deemed appropriate.
Althoughthe false light law has been adopted in several states, a few statesrefused to accept it. The states that refused to accept the falselight blamed the vagueness with which the false light was defined.This vague definition could result in unwanted fear on free speech,especially in the media fraternity. This could in turn make the mediareporter avoid reporting important stories due to fear of litigation.Other states (including the state of California) refused to adopt thelaw on the grounds that there exist no difference between the laws ofdeformation false light. In Heekin v. Broadcasting the Florida’sSupreme Court ruled that the false light was just an overlap ofdefamation laws (Long, 2013). The rejection of the false light insome states was perceived as a success for the media. In other states(such as Missouri), the false light is still controversial with thestakeholders trying to identify its difference from the defamationlaws. This implies that major causes of the refusal of the falselight include its overlapping with the defamation laws and itsconflict with the freedom of the media.
Openmeetings and open public records laws
Openmeeting as well as the open meetings laws, which are referred to asthe sunshine laws were framed to enhance transparency in thegovernment. According to Nadler & Schulman (2006) the openmeeting law is a U.S. legislation that requires all types ofgovernment businesses to be conducted through open meetings with freeaccess to members of the public. These laws have been furthersupported by the court rulings, which have indicated the significanceof open meetings in the running of the government businesses. For aninstant, in Ass’n of Municipal Attorney v. State an Oklahoma courtstated that open meetings give citizens the opportunity to getinformation different acts of the government that affect their lives(Nadler & Schulman, 2006). This implies that the process ofdecision-making in government affairs should be undertaken with thefull view of the people being governed.
Openmeetings go hand in hand with open records laws because easy accessof the public records is among the most effective ways of keeping themembers of the public informed and maintaining transparency in thegovernment. However, the open public records laws do not imply thatmembers of the public should be provided with government records freeof charge. The laws state that government records should be madeavailable at a reasonable fee to ensure that all citizens can accessthem easily (Hollen, 2014).
Theopen meeting as well as the open records laws effectuates bettergovernment by facilitating transparency and the engagement of membersof the public in the government businesses (Nadler & Schulman,2006). This is an effective way of reducing corruption and otherunethical practices in different government agencies. In addition,open meetings and records allows the members of the public topressure government in order to ensure that all decisions treat allcitizens equally. This results in protection of the interests of allcitizens. Moreover, the success of democracy is dependent onknowledge that citizens have regarding the government operations(Nadler & Schulman, 2006). Citizens can only have the necessaryknowledge through open meetings and records. In conclusion, the openmeetings and open record laws enhance transparency, fairness ingovernment operations, and democratic leadership.
Calvert,D. & Pember, D. (2010). Massmedia law.New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Hollen,J. (2014). Open government. WisconsinDepartment of Justice.Retrieved January 5, 2015, fromhttp://www.doj.state.wi.us/dls/open-government
Labunski,R. (2000). A first amendment exception to the collateral bar rule:protecting freedom of expression and the legitimacy of courts.PepperdineLaw Review,22 (2), 410-465.
Long,J. (2013). Leftfalse light flicker on: An argument in support of states adopting afalse light invasion of privacy tort.Philadelphia: The American Law Institute.
Nadler,J. & Schulman, M. (2006). Openmeetings, open records, and transparency in government.Santa Clara, CA: Santa Clara University.