June 28, 2005

Disappointing Day for Miller and Cooper

The Supreme Court's denial yesterday of the petitions for cert filed in the Judith Miller (reporter for the New York Times) and Matthew Cooper (reporter for Time magazine) cases, in which they sought appeal of the contempt findings against them arising out of the grand jury investigation into the Valerie Plame matter strikes a blow not just to the rights of Miller and Cooper, but to the press at large, and to all of us who benefit from a free and vigorous press. Although the current make-up of the Court certainly does not reflect any reporter's dream bench, it is disappointing that the Court passed by this opportunity to address the reporter's privilege issues that have hung in the balance, at least at the federal level, since the Branzburg decision 30 years ago.

The Times issued a statement, in which Miller succintly expresses her reaction to the Court's decision.

The cases now return to the district court, where U. S. District Judge Hogan will hear arguments Wednesday regarding sentencing. Miller and Cooper each face up to 18 months imprisonment. Just for doing their jobs. And not breaking any law.

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