Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Toobin on courts and journalists

In his New Yorker piece, Name That Source: Why Are the Courts Leaning on Journalists?, Jeffrey Toobin has one of the best overviews of the issue I've read. He steers clear of the debate over shield statutes, focusing instead on the courts' increasing propensity to subpoena reporters. If there is hope for reporters in the courts, Toobin suggests, it may lie in D.C. Circuit Judge David S. Tatel's recognition, in Judith Miller's appeal, that courts have broad latitude to develop an evidentiary privilege if not one based on the First Amendment. Still, concludes Toobin, "reporters have little reason to be optimistic."

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