09.17.09

Senate Judiciary Committee Will Continue To Move Toward Vote On Reporter Shield Bill

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) expressed disappointment Thursday that the Committee was unable to report legislation that would establish a qualified privilege for journalists.  The bipartisan Free Flow of Information Act has been on the Committee’s executive agenda for five months, and despite weeks of debate and months of negotiations, Committee Republicans stonewalled consideration of amendments to the important legislation.

“I am disappointed that the Committee was unable to approve the Free Flow of Information Act,” said Leahy.  “This legislation is supported by more than 70 news media and journalism organizations.  Senator Schumer, Senator Specter and I have worked in good faith with the administration, the intelligence community, and with any interested senator, to craft a consensus, compromise bill to establish a federal shield for reporters.  Regrettably, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee today missed an opportunity to work constructively to address this legislation.”

Leahy continued, “Today is Constitution Day, and as we mark the 222nd anniversary of the adoption of our nation’s charter, I had hoped the Committee could proceed with this open government legislation.  I am committed to reporting a reporters’ shield bill from the Judiciary Committee this year, and I hope all Senators will work with us to reach that goal.”

The Judiciary Committee first reported media shield legislation under Leahy’s chairmanship in the 110th Congress.

# # # # #

Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693