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Garland v. Torre and the Birth of Reporter's Privilege
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Garland v. Torre and the Birth of Reporter’s Privilege Stephen Bates University of Nevada, Las Vegas
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Garland v. Torre
and the Birth of Reporter’s Privilege
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
“Girl TV Editor Will Go to Jail,” read the headline in the
It was 1959,
and Marie Torre of the New York
was on her way to jail for refusing to identify
the source who had revealed that Judy Garland apparently “thinks she’s terribly fat
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. Torr
ds greater legal significance than
In re Grand Jury
Subpoena (Judith Miller)
lawyers for the
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
reasoning in a dissenting opinion in
Branzburg v. Hayes
Many federal courts then
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,
, Jan. 13,
Judy Tosses a Monkey Wrench,
., 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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