Skip to comments.Supreme Court rejects reporters' appeal
Posted on 06/05/2006 11:50:05 AM PDT by freepatriot32
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court rejected an appeal from news organizations fighting to protect confidential sources, refusing to consider the case of four reporters in legal trouble over their stories about former nuclear weapons scientist Wen Ho Lee
The court's action, released Monday, was taken without comment. Late last week, Lee settled his privacy lawsuit, and he will receive $1.6 million from the government and five news organizations.
Journalists had been in civil contempt of court for refusing to disclose who leaked them information about an espionage investigation of Lee, a nuclear weapons scientist fired from his job at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
Lee sued the government for violating his rights under the Privacy Act.
The four reporters are H. Josef Hebert of The Associated Press, James Risen of The New York Times, Bob Drogin of the Los Angeles Times and Pierre Thomas, formerly of CNN and now working for ABC News.
Justices could have dismissed the appeal based on the out-of-court settlement. Instead, they flatly rejected the appeals, which had been filed on behalf of the reporters during the legal wrangling with Lee.
Justice Stephen Breyer did not participate.
The cases are Drogin v. Lee, 05-969, and Thomas v. Lee, 05-1114
Finally, a voice of reason echoes out the Supreme Court.
There is no Constitutional right to protect leakers or any other source for a journalist's story. They have no such protection as they have always claimed...........
The only reason Lee wasn't convicted was because the government would have had to allow testimony on classified documents and programs in open court.
The Chinese must be laughing their a$$es off about this. If you're caught spying in China, you are executed or tortured to death. In the US, not only do you get away clean, you get to sue the people who leaked information about you... because your "right to privacy" trumps national security.
What law is it that states that Reporters do NOT have to turn over sources in criminal matters?
Uh hua..... Thought so.
The Press should get no more free passes. If their sources are NOT willing to say they are a source, then they should be shutting the heck up, and the reporters should NOT be telling stories they can not prove OR back up. That should be the start and the end of it. Hopefully this will change some things for the future!
Reporters do not have a constitutional right to keep their sources private..... this is just as nonsensical as congressmen thinking because they are in congress they are immune from FBI warranted raids on their offices.
Funny, the press and the legislature have come to think themselves above the law.. it may be getting time to renew the tree of liberty.
I would be mighty worried if I were the James Risen and Dana Priest right about now.
It has actually consistenly been the Supreme Court's position going all the way back to Branzburg v. Hayes that there is no special journalistic privelege whatsoever to withhold information relevant to a criminal investigation.
Journalists are increasingly getting nervous because the principle is being applied more now than it has been in quite a long time. I would argue that they have mostly themselves to blame however, because modern journalists engage in irresonsible, unsubstantiated rumormongering today more than they have in quite some time.
He/she is responsible for a lot of unnecessary taxpayers' tax dollars being wasted for no good reason. Also responsible for passing classified information to an unauthorized person. They should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If any good came from this incident, it its the SCOTUS' flatout rejection of the reporters' appeals. This should put the MSM on notice that any further such claims are a dead end as far as the federal appeals courts are concerned. The Plame/Libby case comes to mind..........
"Justice Stephen Breyer did not participate."
"Finally, a voice of reason echoes out the Supreme Court."
I was just thinking this might have gone differently had we still had the Court of just a few months ago.
Maybe, Maybe not!
Remember, this was Slick and Janet Reno's little charade!
You just never know with these losers.
The government needed to allow testimony only to the extent necessary to prove Lee provided information to the Chinese - which he claimed he didn't and a point they couldn't prove or wouldn't attempt. His only charge he pleaded no contest to is that he removed those files, not that any Chinese exchange occurred.
How amazing for some to lick the Clinton bowl of Lee's espionage charge while Clinton gave that information away.
This is ridiculous! Why... this would mean that forged documents and secret sources of damning stories against republicans won't be allowed anymore. /Sarc off