Law Center - POSTED: 2010/08/27 15:34
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor predicted Thursday that the nation's high court will be asked again to weigh issues of national security versus free speech because of the recently leaked classified war documents posted on the WikiLeaks website.
Sotomayor told high school and college students at the University of Denver that she couldn't answer a student question about the security questions and free speech because "that question is very likely to come before me."
The release of the WikiLeaks documents, which included names of Afghans working with American forces, has been blasted by the Pentagon. It said the publication of those documents put lives at risk, while WikiLeaks employees insisted the website provides a public service for whistleblowers.
Sotomayor said Thursday that the "incident, and others, are going to provoke legislation that's already being discussed in Congress, and so some of it is going to come up before (the Supreme Court)."
She added that the balance between national security and free speech is "a constant struggle in this society, between our security needs and our First Amendment rights, and one that has existed throughout our history."
Sotomayor compared the current question to the debate over allowing publication of the Pentagon Papers, a secret Pentagon study about the Vietnam War. The New York Times published those in 1971 after the Supreme Court declined to block their publication over the objections of the Pentagon.