I'm Not Unwilling To View Freedom of the Press As An Absolute Right
Every survey taken, it seems, shows that many Americans do not understand the Constitution and the accompanying Bill of Rights. There have been many surveys showing a major willingness, at one time or another, to give up vital freedoms.
Yet, with some exceptions, those freedoms have been kept. The Supreme Court has not always, however, been a bulwark for liberty. It declared Dred Scott, a Negro slave, was not a citizen, and it upheld racial segregation. It imprisoned the Japanese in World War II. Judges are human beings named by politicians, and all too many have been corrupt old farts in the worst, not the best sense of those words. The legal profession all too often attracts skunks, although I've known some fine attorneys. But the injection of dishonest lawyers into the process caused me years ago to suggest that as a prerequisite of qualifying for the bar, would-be attorneys should be required to serve five years first in the penatentiary.
Now the legal profession and sitting judges want to strike down freedom of the press. That can't be allowed. The First Amendment to the Bill of Rights says plainly that no law can be passed abridging freedom of the press.
Will everyone agree? No. But if they don't like it, let them try to amend the Constitution. The debate will show that freedom of the press is essential in any democracy. It is not, in the last analysis, the rights of reporters and editors that are at stake, but the rights of the American people.
We do have a system of laws in the U.S, no matter how imperfect. It's certainly better than in Germany, where they continue to release terrorists, as the German judiciary did just this week with a suspect in the Madrid bombings.
But now with Judy Miller in jail, even our system is faltering. Don't expect reporters to give up their rights, simply because they may, for the time being, seem inconvenient.