The Supreme Court today denied Governor Gavin Newsom’s motions to seal records regarding six requests to the court made by him and then-Governor Jerry Brown to approve clemency grants. However, the denial in each case was only “to the extent [the motion] seeks to seal the entire clemency file,” and the court ordered Newsom “to resubmit the record[s]” in two weeks so the court can then make findings — or not — to seal parts of the records. (See here, here, here, here, here, and here.)
We haven’t seen the motions, but it appears that the court is being very generous with Newsom. The court once before directed him to resubmit the records, which he did, along with the motions to file documents under seal. If his initial motions failed to persuade the court, it’s unclear why he’s being given a second chance.
Under similar circumstances, then-Governor Brown had only one shot last year. After Brown resubmitted a clemency file, the court didn’t order a re-resubmission, but instead made public most, but not all, of the records.
Justice Joshua Groban was recused from today’s rulings on the five of the six motions that concerned clemency recommendation requests made by Governor Brown, presumably because Groban was still a senior advisor to Brown when the requests were submitted.