Senate Stalls Media Shield Law

A mostly party-line vote means the shield law won't go to the floor for a vote before recess.

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The federal journalism shield law hit another roadblock today with a 51-to-43 vote against a motion that would have brought the bill to a vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hoped to get the bill, which would protect journalists from having to reveal sources in federal court, to the floor for a vote before the upcoming August recess, but it was stalled by Senate Republicans, who shot it down in a mostly party-line vote. The Democrats and several Republican supporters fell nine votes shy of moving the legislation forward.

The bill could still get to the floor for a vote after the Senate returns from recess, but some are skeptical because of a busy legislative season and the fact that President George Bush opposes the bill and has threatened a veto. The legislation could have a better chance of survival after the presidential election as Barack Obama and John McCain have both expressed support for it. The House passed a version of the bill by a wide margin last October.

U.S. News spoke earlier with controversial former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, a proponent of this legislation, about the shield law, her time spent in jail, and her legacy. That interview can be found here.