The White House has asked Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to reintroduce a press shield law, … The move comes after questions were raised about the seizure of Associated Press phone records by the Justice Department as part of a national security leak investigation. — Politico, May 15, 2013
ERIC HOLDER: IT WASN’T ME. — The Daily Beast, May 15, 2013
Poor President Obama. He needs good counsel and isn’t getting it from his attorney general. While a federal shield law is overdue, it won’t cure the problem that generated these blurbs above.
Whether reporters are protected from government investigations of their sources is a matter of policy rather than constitutional law. Eminent journalists such as the late Anthony Lewis and jurisprudential scholars like the late Ronald Dworkin agree.
But the policy considerations are so strong that the Supreme Court and most jurisdictions recognize the need to protect the independence of media, through case precedents and statutes. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have shield laws, and most others have limited protections which balance reporters’ rights with legitimate government secrets. Congress has wrestled with passing a federal shield law for decades, unsuccessfully.