A Message from the Dean
Confidential Sources on Trial
Shelter From the Storm
Harrison Report: Post-World War II Bombshell
A Case of Political Descent
Clinic Hits Thirty
The Brief
The Board of Overseers
Faculty News & Publications
Philanthropy
Alumni Briefs
In Memoriam
Case Closed
 
Confidential Sources on Trial
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9

Perhaps most compellingly, Pearlstine also started to think in more abstract ways about whether Time Inc. and other media organizations can ever justify placing themselves above the law, even for laudable or principled reasons. “I have an ambivalence about that,” he says. “I can certainly see cases where you would decide that civil disobedience on the part of the individual and perhaps on the part of an institution might indeed be legitimate. On the other hand, it seemed to me that it ought to be pretty limited.”

In the cases he consulted, from Youngstown v. Sawyer , which forced Harry Truman to abandon hopes of breaking the steelworkers strike during the Korean War, to Richard Nixon's Watergate showdown over the White House tapes, Pearlstine found situations where, time and again, even presidential prerogative had acquiesced to the power of the courts. “I found myself look ing at those things and saying to myself, ‘Was this a case where I was willing to basically ignore the rule of law and not turn over our notes?'” he says. “I decided it was not.”

C. Edwin Baker, Nicholas F. Gallicchio Professor of Law and an expert on First Amendment and mass media law, says that he “would not condemn Pearlstine,” but is unconvinced by his analysis. He calls into question Pearlstine's initial assumption, saying that the Supreme Court's refusal to grant certiorari is not equivalent to an actual ruling.
 
Previous Page Next Page