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Garland v. Torre and the Birth of Reporter's Privilege
Unformatted Document Text:  Garland v. Torre and the Birth of Reporter’s Privilege Stephen Bates University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Authors: Bates, Stephen.
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Garland v. Torre and the Birth of Reporter’s Privilege
Stephen Bates
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
July 2009
 It was 1959, 
and Marie Torre of the New York Herald Tribune was on her way to jail for refusing to identify 
the source who had revealed that Judy Garland apparently “thinks she’s terribly fat.”
 The story 
is hardly as significant as the name of a CIA operative—the topic that led to the jailing of Judith 
Miller in 2005—yet Garland v. Torre
 holds greater legal significance than In re Grand Jury 
Subpoena (Judith Miller).
 In Garland, lawyers for the Herald Tribune presented the first strong 
constitutional argument for a reporter’s privilege. Though Torre lost her appeal, the judge who 
wrote the opinion took a major step: he recognized a degree of constitutional protection for 
newsgathering. Elevated to the Supreme Court, that judge, Potter Stewart, reiterated his Garland 
v. Torre reasoning in a dissenting opinion in Branzburg v. Hayes.
 Many federal courts then 
employed the Branzburg dissent or Garland itself to craft a conditional reporter’s privilege. In 
this fashion, the jailing of Marie Torre helped scores of later reporters avoid jail. 
 Torre’s Lesson: The Late Broadcaster Focused on News, Not Celebrity, P
, Jan. 13, 
 Marie Torre, Judy Tosses a Monkey Wrench, N.Y. H
., Jan. 10, 1957, sec. 3 at 3.
 259 F.2d 545 (2d Cir. 1958).
 397 F.3d 964 (D.C. Cir. 2005).
 408 U.S. 665, 725-752 (1972) (Stewart, J., dissenting).

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