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Roberts: Media’s Access Rights Same as the Public’s

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  1. Newsgathering
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Chief Justice nominee John Roberts gave qualified support to media access in emergency situations during his confirmation hearing. Responding to questions from Sen. Patrick Leahy, who cited efforts to bar reporters from some New Orleans locations and block filming of dead bodies, Judge Roberts said the media should not be barred in any situation where the public had access. Pressed, he said he was not up to speed on First Amendment access issues, but suggested that the response of some military personnel in New Orleans did not meet a legal standard for denying access: “Simple disagreement about whether it’s an appropriate issue for the public to see would not strike me as a very compelling governmental interest.” (9/15/05)