WASHINGTON -- Blocked by a federal judge from publishing an exclusive report on a business lawsuit, Business Week made plans to take its case to the Supreme Court today.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati held a hearing yesterday on a plea by the magazine to wipe out the order issued Wednesday by Judge John Feikens.
The clerk's office at the federal appeals court clerk's office said that the earliest that the court might act would be this morning.
But McGraw-Hill Inc., the parent publisher of Business Week, said through a spokesman last night that it was ready to go on to the Supreme Court if Judge Feikens' order remained intact overnight.
The Supreme Court has never upheld such a "prior restraint" against publication, and such orders are routinely nullified when challenged in lower courts.
A plea to the Supreme Court would go first to Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, who handles emergency pleas from the region that includes Ohio.
It would be up to Justice Stevens to decide on his own, or share the decision with full court.
Business Week was preparing to go to press last Wednesday night with an article about a development in a securities lawsuit between Procter & Gamble Co. and Bankers Trust New York Corp.
But those two companies went to Judge Feikens and obtained a highly unusual order blocking publication.
Judge Feikens declared that the article involved matters that were being kept confidential in the Procter & Gamble-Bankers Trust case.
Business Week has said it is not covered by any confidentiality order and has argued that the judge's order is an unconstitutional prepublication prior restraint.