Reporters Committee releases report on Judge Garland's First Amendment and Freedom of Information decisions

Press Release | March 18, 2016

The Reporters Committee today released a summary of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland's decisions as an appellate judge that concern the First Amendment and Freedom of Information Act.

Some of the key cases that affect journalists include the subpoena battle over scientist Wen Ho Lee's Privacy Act suit, the publication of recorded phone calls (and subsequent publication by the New York Times) concerning ethics violations by Newt Gingrich, and FOIA controversies involving military drones, cell phone location data, White House visitor logs, and Princess Diana.

"During his long service on the appellate court, Judge Garland took strong stands in two significant dissents in support of a robust reporter’s privilege and a First Amendment defense to publishing lawfully obtained information," the report finds. "His decisions in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) cases did not always favor openness, but generally show a commitment to government accountability."

The report is available on the Reporters Committee's website.

About the Reporters Committee

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press was founded by leading journalists and media lawyers in 1970 when the nation’s news media faced a wave of government subpoenas asking reporters to name confidential sources. Today it provides legal resources and support to protect First Amendment freedoms and the newsgathering rights of journalists. Funded by corporate, foundation, and individual contributions, the Reporters Committee serves the nation’s leading news organizations; thousands of reporters, editors, and media lawyers; and many more who use our online and mobile resources. For more information, go to, or follow us on Twitter @rcfp.