mounts to a widespread demonstration of the government's total contempt for the press and the First Amendment - the authorities are corning to the conclusion that they earl get away with it." SILENT PROTECTION Arguing as friends of the court the ACLU filed a brief with the Supreme Court on 6 October, supporting the right of Earl Caldwell and other journalists to withhold information revealed to them by confidential sources. The ACLU along with its Northern and Southern California affiliates have built their argument on four propositions- • two legal and two factual . The primary legal proposition, as stated by the ACLU, is that " the core purpose of the First Amendment's guarantee of a free press is to insure that the American public will be fully informed about questions of general or public interest." The ACLU further states that : "The corollary proposition is that the news and information gathering functions of the press must be afforded constitu- tional protection in order to make it pos- sible to effectuate the primary First Amendment purpose. "The initial factual assertion is that journalists generally and substantially rely on confidential information provided to them by government officials, private citizens, or even those involved in crim- inal activities. Such information either constitutes news or is used as a basis for analyzing the events of the day.'' The ACLU concludes by stating that an indiscriminate and compelled dis- closure of such information to grand juries or other government agencies would inhibit the flow of information in two respects : 1) The sources of infor- mation will be reluctant to provide it if, they fear that their identities or infor- mation will be disclosed and 2) journalists themselves may well be deterred from engaging in investigative reporting if they know that subsequently they can be sub- poenaed and forced to disclose all the information they have acquired. The brief was prepared by Attorneys Melvin L. Wulf and Joel M. Gora for the national ACLU; Paul N. Halvonik and Charles C. Marson for the ACLU of Northern California; and A.L. Wirin, Fred Okrand, and Laurence R. Sperber for the ACLU of Southern California. The authors of the brief feel that if the argument is rejected two results will follow: "Either the flow of information to the public on vital issues will be im- paired or the jails will be filled with reporters. There are some who would relish either consequence - the men who wrote the First Amendment intended neither."

"We the People of the United States... "

demonstrations and requiring any un- authorized assembly of students to dis- band upon demand of any administrative A or student government official. • The Court said that the definition of demonstration was unconstitu- tionally vague, the ban on indoor demon- strations was unconstitutionally broad, and the registration rule unconstitu- tionally barred spontaneous dissent. The U.S . Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit considered only the constitutionality of the ban on indoor demonstrations, finding that the ban stands as a "valid and reasonable exercise of the authority of the college". It re- versed the District Court's decision stating that the ban does not represent an unreasonable limitation upon the First Amendment rights. The ACLU Foundation's petition to the Supreme Court points out that while the Court broadly upheld the First Amendment rights of high school stu- dents in Tinker v. Des Moines Indepen- dent Community School District, in 1969, where the Court r_uled that a high school student could wear a black arm- band during moritorium activities. It has not, however , ruled on the First Amendment rights of College students since the 1934 case of Hamilton v. Board of Regents of the University of California. - The petition, prepared by ACLU Foundation Legal Director Melvin L. Wulf, Staff Counsel Joel M. Gora and Volunteer Attorney John C. Lowe, fur- ther argues:

SLEEPING RIGHTS !'{loving into the college communities, the ACLU on 29 September asked the Supreme Court to review two cases: One involves demonstrations inside campus buildings; the other involves the official recognition of student political organiza- tions by the college administration. The demonstration case arose at Madison College, a state-run institution in Harrison, Va. On 23 April, 1970, about twenty-five students and faculty as- sembled in an open campus building stating their intention to maintain a peaceful overnight vigil to protest the dis- missal of some teachers. Dean James W. Fox asked them to leave because they were, he said, conducting an unregistered demonstration. Most of the demonstra- tors left. According to the Federal District Court's findings in the case, those who did not leave remained quiet and did not block passages. Two days later the students wanted to hold another vigil, this time Dean Fox stating that demonstrations inside campus buildings violated school regulations. That Sunday, a group tried to conduct another vigil and were ordered to leave the building. Those who refused were arrested by campus police. According to the ACLU's Foundation petition, the demonstrators were orderly, and in fact, swept up the area before leaving. The District Court praised the students' behavior and ruled unconstitu- tional the college regulations requiring forty~ight hours ·advance registration of demonstration, forbidding all indoor 10

Made with FlippingBook Online newsletter