Justice Dept. Continues to Resist Shield Law


The Justice Department continues to have major issues with a shield law being pushed by, among others, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.).

The bill would protect journalists and their sources from overreaching prosecutors, while carving out exceptions for national security, medical and proprietary business information.

But in a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing last week, Attorney General Michael Mukasey said 10 angels swearing on Bibles would not change the problems he has with the bill. "Would 40 American journalists being held in contempt?" Pence asked Mukasey during questioning.

The House already passed a bill giving reporters a qualified privilege, similar to the privilege extended by 49 of the 50 states (Wyoming is the exception). The Senate Judiciary Committee also approved a similar bill on that side of the aisle, which leaves it up to the Senate.

The Senate version could come up for a vote soon. It is co-sponsored by White House hopefuls Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.).