Dr. Roslyn Layton, a regulatory policy scholar, has filed an amended motion to intervene in the Ripple vs. SEC lawsuit in a bid to access internal SEC documents related to a speech former SEC Director of Corporation Finance William Hinman gave in 2018.
Invoking The First Amendment Right
These documents have been the subject of significant public interest and debate as they could be crucial to the defense of Ripple, which the SEC has accused of violating securities laws.
Layton is not affiliated with Ripple or XRP but has written extensively about the Hinman Speech Documents and their significance to the case. The SEC has sought to seal some of these documents offered by Ripple in support of its summary judgment motion, but Dr. Layton opposes this motion and is petitioning for their public release.
Dr. Layton argues that both the First Amendment and federal common law endow the press and the public with a presumptive right to access judicial documents, which is necessary for the public to have confidence in the administration of justice.
Significance Of Hinman’s Speech
The Hinman Speech Documents are considered to be judicial documents as they have been introduced into evidence by Ripple in support of its summary judgment motion.
Dr. Layton suggests that their public release is essential for evaluating the strength of Ripple’s fair-notice defense, as well as the SEC’s entire “regulation by enforcement” approach to cryptocurrencies.
The documents will also reveal whether Ethereum’s proponents within the SEC had undue influence in crafting Hinman’s speech, or whether agency insiders thought the guidance provided in the speech was unclear or deviated too much from settled expectations.
Strong Presumption For Public Release
Given the immense significance of the case, which has been called the “cryptocurrency trial of the century,” and the absence of any legitimate countervailing interest counseling against disclosure, Dr. Layton believes that the presumption favoring public release of the Himan Speech Documents is particularly strong.
Layton also refutes the SEC’s claims that the documents are irrelevant or should be kept confidential due to the agency’s internal processes. The fact that the documents concern communications among agency officials only suggests that they “are generally available,” making the presumption stronger and compelling the conclusion that the documents should be released.
Layton’s amended motion to intervene is a significant development in the case, as it could provide the public with access to documents that are highly relevant to the future of the cryptocurrency industry in the US.
As the case continues to attract intense public and media attention, this move could further escalate interest and scrutiny into the case and its potential implications for the future of cryptocurrency regulation.