Supreme Court Won't Hear Reporter's Appeal; James Risen May Now Face Jail For Not Revealing Sources

from the shameful dept

Unfortunately, it appears that the Supreme Court has decided not to hear reporter James Risen's appeal in the case in which he has been subpoenaed to testify, concerning CIA leaks. Risen had refused to testify, claiming that as a reporter he was entitled to keep his sources confidential. Last summer, the 4th Circuit appeals court said that Risen could be compelled to testify and to give up his sources. The court refused a request to rehear the case en banc (with a full slate of judges, rather than just a 3 judge panel). He then appealed to the Supreme Court, leading to today's rejection.

The DOJ, of course, had vigorously argued that the Supreme Court should reject Risen's appeal (ridiculously, it did this the same day the State Department launched a "free the press" campaign). Last week, we noted that some were interpreting Eric Holder's comments to mean that he would not seek jail time for Risen, should he continue to refuse to testify, but a closer reading of Holder's comments said no such thing.

It appears we may now find out the truth. If Risen continues to protect his sources, the ball will be in the DOJ's court: will it give up or will it pursue throwing a widely respected reporter in jail? One would hope that a basic sense of common decency would lead the DOJ to give up this ridiculous fight, but the DOJ doesn't have much of a history of common decency.
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Filed Under: doj, eric holder, first amendment, james risen, protecting sources, shield law, supreme court


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2014 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Here's the problem with that theory. The old guard news organizations don't like losing their audience to the new guard news sources that don't play by the same rules that they do and would like nothing better than the government to crack down like this on those sources. All the major old guard players are cozy with government and get certain access granted so long as they don't upset the government too much. New media doesn't have that access and doesn't care what the government thinks or it's rules. So you will see this covered a lot on the web, but it will likely be barely mentioned, if at all, and spun as a rogue reporter getting his due for breaking the law by the mainstream media. The mainstream media would very happy for the government to take down a few of their rowdy rivals this way.

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