Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Judiciary Committee letter

I am sending a letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  The letter is tonight’s post.

To the Honorable Senator

I write a political blog:  On October 10, 2006 I wrote about an article that appeared in our local paper that morning.  It stated that the Judiciary Committee was considering a shield law to allow reporters to withhold the source of stories that are published.  The example given in the article was the disclosure of secret grand-jury testimony by two reporters that has now resulted in their being given jail time for refusing to reveal their source of that secret testimony.  The purpose of my commentary was to refute the arguments given in the original news story.  I have enclosed the material which incorporates both the original article and my comments.

I have these two basis questions for the Judiciary Committee members.  Why would the Senate want to permit anyone who has violated a federal law to be protected from prosecution for that violation?  Why would the Senate want to allow individuals who are purposely withholding vital information for that prosecution to decide for themselves what can be withheld and what can not be withheld?  If the federal law dealing with grand-jury testimony (or any similar law) is not valid, change the law!  If it is valid, why would the Senate want to allow select individuals (i.e., reporters) to decide for themselves when a valid law should be ignored and when it should be enforced.  It does not make sense to me!  Why should media personnel have that kind of discretionary choice and power?  I would appreciate an answer because I’m sure others have the same concern.  

I will post on my blog any and all replies I receive.  I will, no doubt, comment on each reply sent.  I will also note on my blog those who have not responded.  (As with a Supreme Court decision, if members wish to sign off on a position presented by another member, I will identify that action as having occurred.)  I would suggest that at the minimum, the two basis questions be answered.  Please don’t attempt to skirt the questions.  I will point out the techniques employed in your response(s).  An example of my comments to a letter from a Senator, my own Senator Durbin, can be found on my blog (  It was posted on Saturday, June 10, 2006 and is entitled “Senator Durbin Responses.”  (It may be listed on the blog as Sunday the 11th—the blog does not give the time and date as I actually physically do the posting.)  

I realize we are nearing the end of the current election cycle.  Therefore, I will begin posting on November 13, 2006.  Thank you for your consideration of this matter.



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