CNN to Senate: Stop secret deliberations
January 29, 1999
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, January 29) -- In the aftermath of two closed-door impeachment trial sessions this week, Cable News Network on Friday formally requested that the U.S. Senate hold future deliberations in the open as it considers whether President Bill Clinton should be removed from office.
CNN also ran advertisements in major U.S. newspapers urging that the impeachment proceedings be open.
Secret deliberations on the perjury and obstruction-of-justice charges violate the public's constitutional right to know, CNN said in a written document that was being delivered to all 100 senators.
The document, known in legal terms as an "application," is not a lawsuit and does not require a response.
"The commands of the First Amendment ... are at war with closed-door impeachment deliberations," the application said.
Citing four past U.S. Supreme Court rulings, it said: "The First Amendment creates a right for the public to attend and observe criminal trials and related judicial proceedings, absent the most extraordinary of circumstances."
Twice this week, senators held closed-door sessions in the trial. The first, on Monday, was to deliberate whether to dismiss the charges.
On Tuesday, senators considered in secret whether they would order witness depositions.
On both occasions, the Senate's Republican majority voted against holding sessions in public.