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Floyd Abrams quotes

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.

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

This is going right to the police. So, it's a very dangerous precedent.

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.

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.

No other country in the world gives protection like that, but it is not absolute protection. People sometimes meet that high burden and win libel suits, and in those cases I think they ought to win.

When I began we did not really have a lot of First Amendment law. It is really surprising to think of it this way, but a lot of the law - most of the law that relates to the First Amendment freedom of the press in America - is really within living memory.

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.

So sometimes the facts are good and sometimes the facts are bad, the important thing from the point of view of a principle as broad and important as freedom of speech is that the courts articulate and set forth in a very protective way what those principles are.

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.

It's not like learning how to hit a curve ball in baseball.

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.

The question at the end of the day was, the courts having found there was no defense, a producer about to go to jail, should CBS in effect tell the producer go to jail even though there is no law at all that we can use to get you out of jail?

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

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

The principle though remains the same, and the important thing is CBS fought hard, very hard, to protect that principle and will fight again.

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 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.