The rationale behind the relatively short opinion is neatly summarized in the following passage:
It is clear from the Nitkin and Olesker declarations, that their complaints--e.g., refusal of officials to comment on statements of legislators, refusals to comment on contracts between private firms and the state, refusals to provide information or views for columns, refusals to provide background discussions to identify issues or topics of interest to readers, and refusals to provide personal reasons or justifications for declining comment--are far beyond any citizen's reasonable expectations of access to his or her government. The enforcement of the Governor's memorandum has been implemented in a way that is reasonably calculated to ensure the Sun's access to generally available public information. The Sun seeks a privileged status beyond that of the private citizen; that desire is not a cognizable basis for injunctive relief.The central premise of the opinion is that the plaintiffs were seeking some sort of special status. Here, Judge Quarles misses the point.
Assume that the Governor, in a fit of pique after reading one of my weblog postings, directs all executive branch employees not to speak to me. In such a case, the intent would be to chill my exercise of first amendment rights. The harm that would be suffered in such a case would be the blocking of my access to governmental officials, a right that I share with all citizens, not just journalists. Moreover, journalists, in common with all other citizens, have a reasonable expectation that the right to speak to governmental officials will not be limited due to their exercise of their First Amendment rights. In other words, Judge Quarles is correct in stating that the plaintiffs' rights are basically equal to that of ordinary citizens. He failed to recognize, however, that those rights were violated here.
Needless to say, the decision is being appealed.