When Barry D. Romeril settled with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in June of 2003 he didn’t know he would live to regret it 16 years later. That’s because to settle his case, the SEC required that he agree to be bound by the SEC’s Gag Order.
As a result of SEC’s gag policy, Petitioner Barry Romeril, who reached a no-admit-no-deny settlement with the Commission in 2003, has since been unable to discuss his case publicly. Mr. Romeril, who formerly served as Chief Financial Officer at Xerox, desires to speak truthfully about SEC’s case and offer his opinions about the proceedings against him. However, because he does not want to violate an SEC Order that was transformed into a binding federal court order—nor even risk doing so—he has refrained from making statements that might be deemed to “create an impression” that the Complaint in his case lacked a factual basis or was without legal merit.
NCLA is fighting to remove the gag order from his consent agreement because it is an unconstitutional prior restraint and content-based restriction on speech, abridging the freedom of the press, and Americans’ right to petition.
In October of 2018, NCLA pioneered the legal challenges to this rule by petitioning the SEC to amend its gag rule, setting forth in detail the numerous constitutional and legal infirmities of this unconstitutional and disturbing practice.
Now, we’re taking this all the way to the highest court in the land and the government. In March 2022, NCLA filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking a review of the constitutionality of SEC’s gag orders, which the Commission requires in virtually all settled cases. With NCLA’s help, settling defendants whom SEC has muzzled for decades might get a chance at finally having their voices heard.