Adler: Landmark ruling give press, public access to criminal trials

The First Amendment’s Free Press Clause, which Thomas Jefferson declared indispensable to republicanism, has long been regarded as the “people’s right to know.” Without knowledge of governmental programs, policies and practices, the people would have little ability to hold government accountable. The press, as Jefferson and the founders recognized, could provide the crucial informing function that would make self-government possible.

Historically speaking, protection of the informing function is precisely why the Supreme Court has protected the right of the press to publish what it knows, with...


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