Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Court rebuffs Baghdad Jim McDermott

From the AP:
Rep. Jim McDermott (news, bio, voting record) had no right to disclose the contents of an illegally taped telephone call involving House Republican leaders a decade ago, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

In a 5-4 opinion, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that McDermott, a Washington Democrat, should not have given reporters access to the taped telephone call.

McDermott's offense was especially egregious since he was a senior member of the House ethics committee, the court said.

When he became a member of the ethics panel, McDermott "voluntarily accepted a duty of confidentiality that covered his receipt and handling of the ... illegal recording. He therefore had no First Amendment right to disclose the tape to the media," Judge A. Raymond Randolph wrote on behalf of the court. Four judges agreed with him.

The ruling upholds a previous decision ordering McDermott to pay House Minority Leader John Boehner (news, bio, voting record), R-Ohio, more than $700,000 for leaking the taped conversation. The figure includes $60,000 in damages and more than $600,000 in legal costs.
Lawyers for 18 news organizations — including major television networks, The Associated Press, The New York Times and The Washington Post — filed a brief backing McDermott last year. They said a ruling against him could hurt the media's ability to gather information on important public issues.

Notice how the MSM is more concerned with their ability to break the law or to abet those who have? One wonders if the same people who got their collective thongs in a bunch over Bush listening to phone calls with suspected terrorist connections are similarly appalled and outraged over Baghdad Jim's similar yet illegal (as a court has ruled) activity.