It was very surprising to see how the justices voted in the case deciding 7-1 in favor of Wikileaks. Although their rational makes sense in how the case was presented which asked the question of whether Wikileaks was one a creditable news source and two whether they threatened national security. But the thing that is the most surprising is that only one justice thought that national security was violated when Wikileaks released highly classified government information. Information does not normally become highly classified without good reason so for the court to decide that an informed public is more important than possible national security is very progressive decision. Throughout the justices deliberations many of the justices said that the information Wikileaks released has caused no serious threat no national security and that might be true but the ruling of this case will now set the precedent for all future cases involving similar subject matter. So just because this case in particular didn’t compromise national security a future case might, and the releasing of that information will be justifiable due to the ruling of this case. Ultimately the ruling of this case will affect journalist in positive and negative ways, it will give journalist more freedom to inform the public of what is really going on behind the scenes of the government, but at the same time journalist now have an increased responsibility to filter what the public needs to know and what is just too dangerous to release because of its threat to national security.
The most serious legal ramification of NBC Universal Inc. v Broker’s Choice of America (Tyrone Clark) is the tactics the court allows in libel cases. NBC gathered their evidence in a manner that was less than ethical; they used fake permits to get them into a private seminar that they then illegally filmed. This case has the ability to set a precedent for how information can be obtained and whether this information is able to be used in court. Un-ethical gathering of information used to defame someone’s character is morally wrong and a dangerous precedent to allow for future cases.
Not only was the evidence obtained in a questionable manor NBC edited their findings down to only 112 words of a two day seminar to make a case against Clark that not only incriminated him but his business as well. If this case is decided without allowing the entire video from the two day seminar it will be impossible to truly know whether the context of Mr. Clark’s words (used in the special for dateline) were those of a man trying to con people into buying insurance or those of a man who has had his reputation defamed because libeled his name. and I think this will be another important ramification of this case.
NBC is using journalist privilege to cover up the fact that they tarnished Mr. Clarks and Brokers Choice of America (BOA) name by stripping him of his credibility, and journalist privilege although important cannot be used as a scapegoat for violating someone’s first amendment right. The goal is to focus on how NBC defamed Mr. Clark and BOA by running a story that was retrieved through questionable means that were said to be protected under a journalist privilege, and this could ultimately create a slippery slope for what other first amendment rights can be violated in the name of journalist privilege. Libel is a difficult thing to prove but the goal is to prove that NBC published, false, injurious, unprivileged information about Mr. Clark thus hurting his reputation. To successfully prove libel all of these things must be proven.
• Published- NBC published the information to the world in the dateline publication “tricks of the trade” that was extremely damaging to Mr. Clarks image and career.
• False- Mr. Clark felt unjustly accused of essentially running s scam business due to short videos compiled together to support this claim.
• Injurious- the information published not only hurt Mr. Clark’s image but his business as well.
• Unprivileged- only 112 words of a seminar lasting two days were used to showcase Mr. Clark and his company’s policies in a negative light. To see if the seminars were truly as corrupt as NBC made them out to be the entire videos could have been used and not just snippets of these videos equaling only 112 words.
Justices that might be sympathetic to BCA side of the case are Byron White, William Brennan, Thurgood Marshall, and possibly Lewis Powell since they seem to be the most liberal justices out of a very conservative court.
I’m Lewis F. Powell and I was a justice for the Supreme Court for 15 years (1972-1987) and during that time I became known as the swing vote moderate that always put the case before my own ideas. My role as the unifier in an ideological divided court will probably go down in history as one of my greatest accomplishments along with the Powell Memorandum which has become an important document for the U.S chamber of commerce who was forced to update their policies when dealing with and lobbying the federal government. I started my career as a lawyer for a private firm them joined the Army Air Corps intelligence unit during World War II, and after World War II I returned to my home in Richmond, Virginia and continued to practice law and in 1964 I was elected to the National Bar Association where both my reputation as the moderate started. With this new national stage and new reputation I was approached by the Nixon administration (who I later voted against in United States v Nixon) in 1969 to join the U.S Supreme Court but I refused and two years later when the Nixon administration asked again I accepted.
During my time in the U.S Supreme Court I decided over many important cases such as Roe v Wade, United Sates v Nixon, Buckley v. Valeo, and Regents of the U. of California v. Bakke. Early in my career as a Supreme Court justice it was made evident that my views were difficult to pinpoint often making me the swing vote for these very important cases such as Regents of the U. of California v. Bakke where I was the deciding vote in this 5-4 decision that ruled affirmative action is constitutional racial quotas are not. Although I hold moderate/conservative views I tended to vote in a more moderate/ liberal fashion due to the cases and time period I was a justice in, because ultimately my job was to vote for the good of the people, the nation, and the law .So when it comes to the first amendment I feel the amendment is needed and important for the function of the democracy but has the potential to undermine the authority of the government by offering too many rights to the people, but in the end I will vote to up hold and protect the people’s rights under this piece of legislation. Since in the end my job as a Supreme Court justice for the United States was to uphold the law and not use my platform as a justice to manipulate the law to mirror my personal opinions.
Blasecki, Janet L. “Justice Lewis F. Powell: Swing Voter Or Staunch Conservative?.” Journal Of Politics 52.2 (1990): 530. Academic Search Complete. Web. 8 Sept. 2014.
Biskupic, Joan, and Fred Barbash. “Retired Justice Lewis Powell Dies at 90.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 26 Aug. 1998. Web. 08 Sept. 2014.
Of all the freedoms granted under the first amendment the one I could live without would be the freedom to petition. Petitioning can be an effective way to voice your opinion and evoke change but not nearly as important as the right to free speech, press, assembly, and religion. Without freedom of petition we as citizens of the United States could still experience a rather unique and gratifying way of life not seen in other parts of the world. But without one of the other four freedoms our rights under our democratic government would be severely undermined.
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