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Floyd Abrams Quotes


An American attorney at Cahill Gordon & Reindel.
(1936 - )

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CBS exhausted the Texas courts. They went from the trial court to the intermediate court to the highest court.
 

CBS fought very hard on this because it believed and believes that there's a principle at stake here. The principle is that Dan Rather doesn't work for the police, and that people that speak to Dan Rather understand that he's a journalist and not a police agent.
 

Here we have a situation where a defendant in a case agrees to an interview with Dan Rather. It happened to be not confidential. But it was an interview with Dan Rather.
 

I am really impressed by lawyers who write books and tell us that they never lost a case. Most lawyers who have never lost a case have not had enough hard cases. But there are very difficult cases out there.
 

I just had the sense that at least the books that I had read about law just didn't really have enough of that.
 

I know a lot of reporters certainly will go to jail to defend confidential sources. Some have even gone to jail for an issue like this. But I can't say that's the norm.
 

I mean the idea of this is that it's a good thing for the public to hear interviews like this and that there will be an inevitable amount of fewer interviews if people that the press talks to wind up thinking, well, it's not really a CBS correspondent.
 

I really did try to write it so that an educated public that cares about issues like this doesn't have to be a lawyer and can read it and understand it.
 

I really try at least to come back and answer the question as to whether that was really the best way to do that and was I really thinking straight and how did my opponents behave and how did the judges behave was needed.
 

I still owe a duty of loyalty to my clients and former clients, so I cannot specify which clients I did not especially find congenial, but the cause was the same.
 

I think that it is important for people to understand that whether a good-guy or a bad-guy wins a case is less important than what the law is that the case results in.
 

I think that the very fact that CBS fought and fought and fought in Texas, in New York.
 

I think we have some serious problems now, but, if you look back over the last thirty or forty years that my book deals with, I think we are in better shape now than we would have been if all of those cases had not come down.
 

I try to do that in this book without preaching - to try to do as you just said that you really have to defend the First Amendment rights of everybody.
 

I would say that the Pentagon Papers case of 1971 - in which the government tried to block the The New York Times and The Washington Post that they obtained from a secret study of how we got involved in the war in Vietnam - that is probably the most important case.
 

If the word gets out, if the perception exists that by speaking to a CBS journalist you are, therefore, inevitably, immediately speaking to the police, I don't think there's any doubt but that people won't talk. And, therefore, the public won't learn.
 

It has something to do with the facts and the law and who the judges are. So I think lawyers sometimes exaggerate their role in winning and losing. Lawyers do have a role, and a major role, but they're not the only players in this game.
 

It is not to benefit CBS, not to benefit its reporters. On this one, the entire basis of it is this is a way to get more information, more important information to the public. And that's why so many states recognize this.
 

It is within the last quarter century or thirty years. And a lot of that law has turned out to be very, very protective of the press and the public's right to know.
 

It just seems to be a human trait to want to protect the speech of people with whom we agree. For the First Amendment, that is not good enough. So it is really important that we protect First Amendment rights of people no matter what side of the line they are on.
 


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