Media Censorship and Access to Terrorism Trials: A Social Architecture Analysis

45 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2012

See all articles by Derigan Silver

Derigan Silver

University of Denver Department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies; University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Date Written: August 1, 2011

Abstract

This article contends that using the social architecture metaphor - which focuses on how the law creates and distributes power between groups - is particularly well suited to understanding the importance of access to the trials of terrorist suspects. Specifically, the article argues it is important that the "architecture of power" created by the U.S. Supreme Court in cases that have provided for a First Amendment right of access to criminal trials not be replaced with an architecture that more closely resembles cases that have dealt with access to national security information and locations. In these cases, rather than decide cases by focusing on the societal benefits of open government, courts have typically focused on the individual facts of each case without an eye toward the larger social architecture the decisions create. This article posits that an architecture of presumptive access that still allows for a case-by-case closure - as opposed to an architecture of presumptive secrecy with case-by-case disclosure - is consistent with the original architecture of the Constitution and First Amendment and advances trust in the government as it fights terrorism.

Keywords: First Amendment, Access to judicial proceedings, terrorism trials, social architecture theory

Suggested Citation

Silver, Derigan, Media Censorship and Access to Terrorism Trials: A Social Architecture Analysis (August 1, 2011). Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy, Vol. 25, No. 2, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2031165

Derigan Silver (Contact Author)

University of Denver Department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies ( email )

2490 S. Gaylord St.
Denver, CO 80208-5000
United States

University of Denver Sturm College of Law ( email )

2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
United States

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