02 December 2010

Random Bit of Judicial History

In 1971, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case arising from documents leaked to the press by Daniel Ellsberg, illustrating the history of U.S. military involvement in Vietnam.

I have a random hankering today to quote from Justice Hugo Black's opinion in that case.

"Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell. In my view, far from deserving condemnation for their courageous reporting, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other newspapers should be commended for serving the purpose that the Founding Fathers saw so clearly. In revealing the workings of government that led to the Vietnam war, the newspapers nobly did precisely that which the Founders hoped and trusted they would do."

1 comment:

Henry said...

For those who might be concerned about potential harm that could result from Wikileaks' disclosures, I quote Glenn Greenwald at http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/12/01/wikileaks/index.htmlsalon.com:

The real-world alternative to the current iteration of WikiLeaks is not The Perfect Wikileaks that makes perfect judgments about what should and should not be disclosed, but rather, the ongoing, essentially unchallenged hegemony of the permanent National Security State, for which secrecy is the first article of faith and prime weapon.

Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.