Federal Judge Uses “Fighting for the Press” In Ruling Against NSA Domestic Spying

A three-judge panel on the US Court of Appeals cited James Goodale’s book, “Fighting for the Press,” in its recent decision limiting the controversial National Security Agency (NSA) domestic phone monitoring program.

In the case of A.C.L.U. v. James R. Clapper – the NSA’s director of national intelligence – Second Circuit Judge Gerard E. Lynch’s opinion declared that the program, which has been publicly criticized for its practice of collecting and storing Americans’ phone call data, “exceeds the scope of what Congress authorized,” in the U.S. Patriot Act (2001).

In his concurring opinion, Circuit Judge Robert D. Sack explained the court’s ruling in part by citing, “Fighting for the Press,” and exploring the national security vs. free speech issues weighed in the Pentagon Papers Supreme Court case U.S. v. New York Times Co. (1971). James Goodale was the Times’ General Counsel who led the newspaper’s fight against the Nixon administration’s efforts to suppress publication of the leaked documents about the Vietnam War.

“Recognition of the dangers to the fundamental rights of citizens that inevitably arise when the nation attempts effectively to treat grave external threats to lives and property was not dependent on the creation of telephone metadata or the preparation of secret reports on the origin of the Vietnam War,” wrote Sack.

He concluded his argument with a quote from Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist No. 8 essay.

“’The violent destruction of life and property incident to war, the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights.’”

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“Fighting for the Press,” was named best non-fiction book of the 2013 by Alan Rusbridger, Editor of The Guardian, and by Alan Clanton of ThursdayReview.com.

To purchase a copy of “Fighting for the Press,” click here.