The Press and the Law - 2214

The Press and the Law
Class Term:
Spring Term 2020-2021
Catalog Number:
Professor(s): Type:
Simulation Course
2 (0 Contact, 0 Field)
General Enrollment Course
Full Year Course:
Standard Courses

Grading Details

30% of the course grade will be based on mock court appearances; 30% on pleading/ FOIA request preparation; 10% on a self-assessment exercise; and 30% on the final exam.


The press often requires representation to ensure that it has access to the news and to ensure it can gather and report news without interference. There is a considerable body of law on the press’ rights of access to government actions and the right to report news. The body of law also protects the press’ sources and research from government intrusion. The course, taught by an attorney with extensive experience in representing the press, will review this body of law. It will afford students practical experience in representing the press by mock court appearances and arguments, and pleading preparation. Among the topics to be covered are: A.  Origins of Freedom of Press – History of Censorship of the Colonies and the Development of the Protection of the Press in the Bill of Rights B.   Prohibition on Prior Restraint of the Press - New York Times v. United States of America C.   Protections of the Reporter in Covering News -The Qualified First Amendment Privilege and the Pennsylvania Shield Law D.   Access to Judicial Proceedings and Judicial Records                 1.   The common law right of access                 2.   The higher First Amendment right of access                 3.   The Pennsylvania Constitution protections                 4.   How the press can assert its right of access E.      Access to the Executive Branch               1.   Freedom of Information Act               2.    Pennsylvania Right to Know Law and Sunshine Law and similar state laws

The Press and the Law