Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 2, 2003
POLITICS: The Ashcroft Solution

Can Bob Novak and other journalists be subpoenaed to reveal who leaked Valerie Plame's name to them? (The question assumes that there were leaks to other journalists besides Novak, but it still seems at least equally likely that the much-touted leaks to "six other journalists" were people who got calls from folks in the White House political operation after Novak's column appeared in the papers, and those would hardly count as "leaks" at all). Eugene Volokh notes some of the obstacles presented by the Justice Department's internal guidelines on subpoenas to reporters.

What Volokh misses, though, is the political dimension. Let's say that such subpoenas get issued. Presumably, some or all of the reporters involved will refuse to divulge their sources. DOJ goes to court, and the First Amendment's self-appointed champions come out of the woodwork to make this a cause celebre. Suddenly, the story is all about how John Ashcroft's Justice Department is being too aggressive in hunting for leaks. Isn't that the ideal result for the White House?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:50 AM | Politics 2002-03 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)
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