National Press Club

National Press Club to Host First Amendment Attorney Floyd Abrams

May 28, 2013 | By John M. Donnelly |

As U.S. prosecutors increasingly monitor reporters to get to the bottom of leaks, the National Press Club's Press Freedom Committee will host leading First Amendment attorney and press-freedom advocate Floyd Abrams, who will discuss these issues and his new book.

Abrams, a senior partner in Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, has been at the forefront of nearly every major press-freedom and free-speech case in the last 40 years—from the Pentagon papers in 1971 to the Citizens United case in 2010.

His new book, "Friend of the Court: On the Front Lines with the First Amendment," culls in one volume some of his most compelling speeches and writings from across those years.

Abrams will read from his book and take questions from the audience on June 11 from 6:30-8pm at the National Press Club's Zenger Room. Admission is free for NPC members and $10 for others.

RSVP for the event here.

Abrams's take on the First Amendment is always timely but never more so than now. The Justice Department is increasingly prosecuting those who are accused of disclosing classified information to the press. In these cases, officials are taking more extensive actions than usual against reporters, including secretly obtaining phone and email records and monitoring records of journalists' movements in government buildings.

The recent disclosures may have increased the chances that Congress will consider a bill to shield reporters from being forced to disclose anonymous sources. But press advocates say the government’s actions have sent a chill through the ranks of investigative reporters and potential whistleblowers.

The National Press Club Press Freedom Committee leads Club efforts to speak out about potential threats to press freedom and open government in the United States and abroad and to promote greater transparency and protections for journalists.

The Club is the world's leading professional organization for journalists. Founded in 1908, it comprises some 3,000 reporters and news sources.