Case Journal #3

I have always been and will always be a big advocate for gender equality, specifically women’s rights believing that the court should be gender-blind. I also have strong opinions about the rights of workers and the separation of church and state. From the moment I became a justice in 1993, I have brought these ideas forth in the court room and because of it my opinion has influenced the court on many different occasions.

My biggest influence on the court that I have had so far was in the United States v. Virginia. In this case I wrote the landmark decision in this case which the Virginia Military Institute that they would not admit women. We reversed this order and I was a landmark decision in this court case.

I also gathered a lot of attention for my dissenting opinion in the Bush v. Gore case which effectively decided the 2000 Presidential election. I objected the courts majority opinion in favoring Bush with the famous use of the words, “I dissent,” refusing to use the word “respectfully.”

I believe this case should be decided in favor of James Risen. I am a liberal judge who is open to change in how the constitution runs the nation. I believe reporters should have security in their right to remain confidential. We need reporters to report the truth and if the government is to come after them every time they do not like the truth that a reporter puts out then how can we ever expect to hear the truth? My opinion is in the favor of Risen and hope my counterparts can come to such an agreement as well.

EC: Feb. 11

1. Specifically in the case of Chris Fowler, I cannot say with confidence that I wouldn’t have made this same mistake. When you find information about an athlete from what seems to be a credible source, it is easy to believe that this information is true. It is not like Fowler was trying to seek out scandalous information about this athlete but rather was just looking for some hard-nose, basic facts. However, after class discussion, if I were to have been Fowler in this scenario I would make sure to check my sources. In doing this I would solidify that A. my sources are credible and B. That this information is backed up by at least three other sources.

In the case of the faulty twitter interview, I would have made sure to do the interview anywhere but Twitter, preferably by phone or in person. Gaining your sources from twitter is risky but at times could be the only route to take. However, a full on interview should have not been conducted via twitter, rather gain the contact information via twitter and follow that up with a phone or in-person interview.

2. In the case of Fowler my decision was reached through both are class discussion and the belief that you should always back your sources up. When you are going to announce something as fact, like Fowler attempted to do, you should-at minimum-find that same pool of information on three other sources. Furthermore, if you on in the high-paying and high-profile position Fowler was in then this information could have easily been confirmed by way of a quick phone call.

In the case of the twitter interview, my decision was reached by the basic journalistic standard of not ever doing interviews over social media, let alone twitter where you can only supply answer in 140 characters or less. At bare minimum, this interview should have been conducted via e-mail. However, in the case of finding your source on twitter it would be important to do the interview as a phone call at least, preferable in person in order to solidify that the person is indeed who they claim to be.

3. For both Fowler and the twitter interview, I decided this way because it simply would have stopped the situation from happening. Had Fowler checked his sources and confirmed the facts about the tennis player than he would have said the correct information on air. Had the author of the Huffington Post article done this interview over phone or in person it would have been much easier to detect the lies the interviewee was feeding the reporter. Had the interview been done in person the problem would have been obvious, over phone not as obvious but still detectable.

Case Journal #2

The James Risen v. The United States raises many interesting points that have been questioned in cases prior to this. The issue we will be looking at is the idea of whether journalists have a qualified right to the First Amendment in which they refuse to reveal sources when subpoenaed to do so. Secondly, this case will look at whether journalist are and should be protected when it comes to revealing sources in front of a grand jury.

In this particular case, we will consider Mr. James Risen, a reporter for the New York Times, who has refused to reveal his sources for a book he had written back in 2006. Risen was subpoenaed to give a testimony to ensure that the some of the information in his book was indeed given to him by Jeffery Sterling, a previous C.I.A official. He has continued to reuse to do so and is facing jail time because of it.

I am quite confident in the fact that I’m not sure how this case may play out. We have seen a previous case in Branzburg V Hayes that has looked at these same issues. In that particular case we saw the decision of the supreme court to invalidate the right of reporters to use the First Amendment as protection when asked to reveal sources. However, since this case in 1972, a lot has changed, especially in media which may lead to a different outcome for Mr. Risen.

The changes I have referenced above start with the Obama administration and their aggressive acts to allow reporters to be protected. The administrations has supported efforts in Congress to create a Federal Shield Law that would squash subpoenas issue to reporters (NY Times). Therefore, with this in mind, it is quite possible that Mr. Risen could keep his confidentiality.

However, the Branzburg v Hayes case stood as a monumental case when looking at journalists protection so the decision could also just as possibly stay consistent with history.

Risen v United States: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

My name is Ruth Bader Ginsburg and I am a current Supreme Court Justice who has been serving for the last 22 years. I was born on March 15, 1993 in Brooklyn, New York before attending Columbia Law School. My childhood was not the prettiest. I grew up within a low-income household with a poised mother who never attended college. My mother, however, taught me the value of hard work and without her I would not be where I am today.

While I graduated first in my class from Columbia, I continued to be the victim of gender discrimination in the work place for a large portion of my professional career. Because of this, I had trouble finding my first job apon graduation, until I was able to get an opportunity to serve as a clerk for U.S District Judge Edmund L. Palmieri in 1959. I would soon go on to teach at Rutgers University in 1963 before becoming the first female tenured professor at my alma matter.

I am and have always been a strong advocate for women’s rights and believing that law should always be gender-blind, meaning, everyone should experience equality.

In 1993, I was appointed to the Supreme Court by president Clinton. Since this time I have experienced first-hand the dealings of many important cases that have gone on to shape our country. The Bush vs Gore cases was exceedingly interesting to me for it finally resolved the dispute around the election of 2000. Beyond this however, I have always been a strong advocate for equality and women’s rights. I played a very prominent role in the deciding of the United States v. Virginia case that eventually allowed women to join the Virginia Military Institute. I eventually wrote the landmark decision for this case.

In the case of Risen vs. the United States, we see the idea of journalistic privilege come into play. James Risen wrote a book in 2006 as a writer for the New York Times. This book titled, “The State of War,” highlights a CIA plan to sabotage Iranian nuclear research. When the government asked Risen to reveal the source of this information, he refused. News organizations have brought forth this case to the Supreme Court on several different occasions asking us to hear it so we can better clarify the rights that reporters have in conveying our nation’s and worldwide news. After many refusals, we have decided to hear this case as it is our duty to better define the idea of journalistic privileges held under the First Amendment.

An earlier case that will likely have an impact on this case is Branzburg v. Hayes of 1972. Here, we again see the rights of reporters under the First Amendment disputed. Prior to this case, it was the only time the Supreme Court has considered the use of reporters’ privilege.

The Branzburg v. Hayes case has since outlined how courts should go about deciding future cases of this similar dynamic. The decision was based on the fact that reporters are to be subjected to the same rights as all citizens when confronted by the grand jury. Therefore, reporters or not immune to testify however, they have the right to cite the First Amendment as a shield when they are compromised.

In earlier hearings on Risen v. United States, this case was cited. Risen has refused to conform to the subpoena that asked Risen to reveal his sources from his book. According to Branzburg v. Hayes, Risen should not get special privileges as a reporter in denying this subpoena. It is to my foreseeable understanding that the case of Branzburg v. Hayes will again be cited when we see the case of Mr. Risen in front of the Supreme Court.

I have published books on foreign law so can understand this case from both a journalistic and lawyer perspective. I plan on sticking to what i know best, which is a liberal approach. I believe in a “step-by-step litigation strategy.” I consider myself a “careful, moderate judge, believing in narrow rulings and the important of stare decisis.”

I am very hesitant to except this case to trial, as it is one I have previously blown off numerous times in the past. I am under the notion that I will be able to live with the outcome as it is not one that I am over-the-top passionate about. Past cases have presented cases that fuel my fire and with those, I have done everything in my power to make the best decision be made. This particular case is not one that impacts me in a personal way, however I will do the same job I have been for the last 22 years in order to decide this case with the utmost justice and respect.


Europa Biographical Reference. (n.d.). Retrieved from World’s Who’s Who database.


LexisNexis Academic database.
The Reporter’s Priveledge: A Historical Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2015, from MLRC Institue website:

Ruth Badar Ginsburg. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2015, from Legal Information Institute website:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2015, from Makers website:

EC1: Rolling Stone’s Rape Story

1. What went worn with the story?

A lot went wrong with this story. Although well written and cleanly reported from Jackie’s point of view, that is the only view of the story readers receive. And thats the problem. This story should have never been reported and put out into a magazine like Rolling Stones without talking to everyone involved with the case. It is understandable and believable that Jackie would want to protect herself in not turning over the names of the mens she accuses if rape but without this information, a story like this loses it credibility.  There are hundreds apron thousands of rape cases a year, many of which happen at schools like UVA. So if Jackie was not willing to turn in more facts about her alleged rape, there are many other stories and girls that probably would have. This was the tough decision that was made wrongfully in this case in choosing to run a story completely from one angle.

2. Where does the fault lie?

Journalistically, the fault lies within the reporter and the editor of Rolling Stones for both reporting a story that is allegedly not all the way true. I feel as though Jackie is also at fault for allegedly giving false information to Rolling stones and/or elaborating her story.

3. What journalistic challenges were presented in the reporting and writing?

The challenges here were the excitement of breaking a huge story that could potentially change this reporters career and holding off on reporting the story because all the facts of the case weren’t surfaced. As far as the actual writing of the story, it does go into great detail regarding the actual rape which is captivating in ways but also can propose bias. From a completely independent party that has no tie to rape or UVA, this story can make you hate UVA, when in reality, rape happens at all campuses. The challenge in writing a story like this is to keep it non-biased through objective writing in order to not share an opinion but rather facts of the story and have readers form their own opinion.

4. What would you have done differently?

I can’t promise that if I were in this reporters shoes that I wouldn’t report this story as a career move. However, after reading it and thinking about it critically, I believe that the best thing to do in this situation is to not report this story due to lack of facts and sources from all parties.