The Supreme Court turned down an appeal today from The Boston Globe and a former reporter in a $2 million defamation judgment stemming from the paper's refusal to reveal a confidential source, AP reports. Justices had been told that the case was important for protecting news sources, a subject of special interest with the summer jailing of New York Times reporter Judith Miller in a CIA leak case and court fights over civil contempt findings against other journalists.
The Globe had been sued by a doctor who argued news articles wrongly blamed her for the death of a patient. The patient, Betsy Lehman, was the newspaper's health columnist, who died in 1994 from an overdose of experimental cancer drugs.
The newspaper, relying on confidential sources, reported in 1995 that Dr. Lois Ayash was the leader of a team of doctors caring for Lehman at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and that she countersigned a medical order that resulted in Lehman's death.
The Globe later published a correction saying Ayash had not countersigned the order, while standing by the claim that she was the head of the treatment team.
I wrote previously about this case here.