ERIC Number: ED284215
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Was Warren Burger Richard Nixon's Revenge? A Study of the Chief Justice's Attitudes toward the News Media.
Bernstein, James M.
The suggestion that Warren Burger's appointment to the Supreme Court was Richard Nixon's revenge upon the press is supported by some of Burger's judicial decisions and attitudes toward the press outside the courtroom, but not all of his decisions were against the news media. Burger's decision not to allow court clerks to speak to reporters, and not to allow the press to use television cameras or tape recorders to record his 1970 address to the American Bar Association seems to support the idea that, like Nixon, Burger had a great deal of contempt for the press. Additionally, Burger was hesitant to expand the constitutional privileges of journalists in his interpretation of the First Amendment, seen in his decision in the "Branzburg v. Hayes" source confidence case, the landmark libel case "Gertz v. Robert Welch," and in "Houchins v. KQED," where Burger's opinion provided no guarantee that the news media would have access to prisons. Yet Burger's decision in "Miami Herald v. Tornillo" helped the press by ruling that a newspaper's content was the business of journalists. Burger's criticism of the New York Times over the Pentagon Papers convinces many of his antagonism toward the press, but two of his decisions allowed the press to attend trials. Burger had strong, controversial opinions about the role of the press, but evidence suggests he separated his personal beliefs from the actions he took in court. (Four pages of notes are included.) (JC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Burger (Warren E); First Amendment; Judicial Attitudes; Media Role; Supreme Court
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (70th, San Antonio, TX, August 1-4, 1987).