It's no accident that we have aligned articles about freedom of the press, the right of privacy, and the Equal Rights Amendment. They have a common grounding in the nation's unceasing task of defining, protecting and expanding individual rights, as society itself changes in its perception of these rights. In this VOTER, we report developments on all three. The first two have been undergoing testing and redefinition from the days of our country's beginnings. "Hot Off the Press" offers some first-round reactions to S.1, the proposed act that would totally rewrite the federal criminal code. In almost casual fashion, it would also, according to its critics, rewrite the basic free-press protections enunciated in the First Amendment. " ... Versus the Right To Be Let Alone" describes the tension between the reporter's right to tell and the private citizen's Fourth Amendment right not to have it told to the whole world via the press--one important dimension of the right of privacy. This time the vehicle for change has been a new court decision in the case of a private citizen-lawyer for unpopular causes-who successfully sued the John Birch Society for its labeling him a Communist in its magazine. Private citizens have applauded his victory; reporters see themselves hamstrung in doing their job. So ... two avenues for probing the limits of individual rights are represented: Congress and the courts. The ERA calls into playa third course: the constitutional amendment. It is a route this nation has often chosen for broadening its protection of individual rights by making ever clearer the scope of that powerful phrase, "All men . . . . "
Ruth C. Clussen,
Individual Rights, Hot Off the Press Versus the Right to be Let Alone, ERA: What We Have in Common
Available at: http://repository.uchastings.edu/tv_and_first_amendment/29