Skip to comments.Alabama AG: Congress not justices should make law (Plame case)
Posted on 06/08/2005 1:49:38 PM PDT by Shermy
MONTGOMERY - Congress rather than the U.S. Supreme Court should make a law protecting reporters from prosecution for refusing to identify their confidential sources, Alabama Attorney General Troy King said Tuesday.
King recently declined to join attorneys general of 34 states and the District of Columbia who filed a friend-of-court brief urging the Supreme Court to recognize a qualified privilege for journalists to protect their confidential sources.
The attorneys general asked the Supreme Court to hear the appeal of Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who were held in contempt of court for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating who leaked the identity of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame.
King said a reporters' privilege is good public policy and is protected in Alabama by state law. But, he said, "courts should not be in the business of making law from the bench."
If a federal reporters' privilege is to be established as law, Congress rather than the U.S. Supreme Court should make the law, King said.
"While I wholeheartedly agree with and support the case for reporters' privilege and protection, the proper avenue to achieve it clearly lies in the congressional arena, where I will take an active position in working for its passage," King said in a prepared statement.
Not many "Plamegate" stories recently except about various states filing papers in the Supreme Court in support of Miller/NYTimes and Cooper/TimeMag. This story a little different and thought some might be interested in the Congress/Court comparison.
...who were held in contempt of court for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating who leaked the identity of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame...
It would appear the matter here is not a matter of "journalist privilege", but one of ignoring a subpeona. While a judge holding someone in contempt for same has NOTHING to do with making law from the bench. (???)
They went to court as called but would not reveal sources, so the "privilege." The prosecutor is trying to get them to talk on these matters.
Reporters deserve no special privledges. As a whole they have not shown themselves to be more trustworthy or more interested in advancing the truth than the average person.
If there's going to be an exclusion for people who are spreading news of some sort, it should be for anyone who does so regardless of if they are a reporter, someone who posts on a web site, or someone who shouts something on the street for people to hear.
We should all be treated equally under the law. It's the actions that need protected, not a class of people.
The prosecutor is trying to get them to talk on these matters.
Understood. I think the scenario is best defined as to whether these people have CRITICAL EVIDENCE. It is a violation of law to WITHHOLD EVIDENCE in various felony situations. That would then be an issue of interpreting the law, not making law. Legislating from the bench is very easy to spot when it happens. Like it was in Florida when the activist pro-Gore judges tried to RE-WRITE Florida election law. It of course, went to the SC, and was approriately slapped down. It still angers me to this day that the deliberately guilty judges were not throw out of the legal system. It will be interesting to see how this situation goes.
Thanks for the update!--I've been wondering what's going on with that.
I am 100% against reporter's privilege. They are too biased and untrustworthy. I say, live by sunshine, die by sunshine. They should be held to the same standard they hold everyone else to.
As someone from a corrupt state, I can say that that is a bad idea.
Most corrupt politicians tend to be powerful, and they tend to be connecting to the courthouse rings and everything else, meaning, if someone tries to out them, the full force of the "law" will come against them.
If you make it so that there is no protection for sources, sources are not going to come to reporters, and they won't come to authorities, meaning, the corruption will be allowed to exist unfettered.
In the meantime, Matt Cooper's profile continues to rise. He was at the last Presidential press conference and got called on. Also Fox seems to have him on fairly often as a commentator.
Waiting to see what the U.S. Supremes do. Thanks for the ping.
Fair enough. But note that the appellate court that upheld the contempt citations found that even if such a privilege exists it would not apply in this case: