Open & Shut
A collection of notable quotations
From the Spring 2009 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 36.
“After four years of sometimes intense debate, Texas has finally stood behind the principle that the press plays a vitally important role in our democracy and must be protected from government intimidation.”
— Sen. Rodney Ellis, a strong advocate of the Texas shield bill, which was signed into law in May.
“Our judicial system is one of the best kept secrets in the United States. Letting the sun shine in on federal courtrooms will give Americans an opportunity to better understand the judicial process. . . . It’s just the best way to maintain confidence and accountability in the system and help judges do a better job.”
— Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on his proposal to let federal judges decide whether to allow cameras in their courtrooms.
“In America, every fact and document gets known — whether now or years from now. And when these photos do see the light of day, the outrage will focus not only on the commission of torture by the Bush administration but on the Obama administration’s complicity in covering them up.”
— ACLU executive director Anthony D. Romero, after President Obama reversed his decision to release photos depicting the abuse of detainees in U.S. custody in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“You must have a complete riot, social anarchy, if for every case that comes into the court that you have to seal the names of every juror.”
— Va. Del. Bob Marshall, sponsor of a law that allows Virginia courts to keep juror names sealed when “good cause” is shown, on news that the court system in Virginia Beach was sealing all juror names.
“What makes journalists so special that they are in another category? If the pope came to America, the pope would not have the same privileges as these journalists.”
— Texas Rep. Debbie Riddle, speaking in opposition to the state reporter’s shield bill.
“There are pros and cons to the changing media landscape, and I do not pretend to know what assets and debits the future media mix will bring. But this I do know — that the First Amendment should never countenance the gamble that informed scrutiny of the workings of government will be left to wither on the vine. That scrutiny is impossible without some assistance from inside sources. . . . Indeed, it may be more important than ever that such sources carry the story to the reporter, because there are, sad to say, fewer shoeleather journalists to ferret the story out.”
— Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond (4th Cir.), in a concurring opinion in Andrew v. Clark, a government speech case.