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Dissenting opinion of Risen appeal ruling a must read

Wednesday, October 16, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Laura Sellers-Earl
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Last night, members of the Shield Coalition received this note from Sophia Cope regarding New York Times reporter James Risen’s appeal. I am sure you have seen the reports on Poynter, the NYT and a number of other outlets. This is not good news.

I ask that you take a moment to read Judge Gregory’s dissenting opinion. In my view it is brilliant, a clear example of why a shield law is necessary. I am hopeful the coalition will share his opinion with legislators.

Teri Hayt

Dear Shield Coalition Members –

We just received word that the Fourth Circuit has declined James Risen’s request for rehearing en banc (see PDF).We do not yet know whether he will appeal to the Supreme Court. But even if he does, given that only one judge dissented from the en banc decision, the odds of the court granting cert and ruling in his favor are low. (Judge Gregory, the lone dissenter, noted the absence of a federal shield law.) Therefore, unfortunately, Risen is in imminent danger of being held in contempt of court and imprisoned for protecting his source. We will keep you posted.

As for the Senate bill, as you can imagine, progress has slowed given the government shutdown. The committee staff have, however, been working with Sen. Schumer’s staff on the report to accompany the bill that passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 12. The purpose of the committee report is to explain the bill and chronicle the legislative history. We’ll send along the report once it’s finalized. The bill as amended in committee is available here:

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