Law professors hold First Amendment inadequate in protecting press against Trump

Two law professors argue that the First Amendment is woefully inadequate in protecting the press from the threats posed by the Trump administration. Journalists have few rights guaranteed under the constitution on access to government sources and documents or by assaults by the executive branch. Traditional strengths of the press have been eroded with the advent of the internet and declining news industry profits, lack of public and judicial support, breakdown of  interdependent relations with government officials and Trump disdain for norms and traditions. Much is in jeopardy including press access to the executive which has been recently safeguarded by the Justice Department practice of only asking reporters for the identities of their sources as a last resort. Trumps is threatening to destroy conventions governing press relations by only taking questions from the favored, deciding when to exclude reporters from traveling with him and by suggesting he might allow his aides to pick those allowed to attend briefings. (The New York Times, January 25, 2017, by RonNell Andersen Jones and Sonja R. West)

The Trump administration continues in their assault on access and transparency with orders for employees at government agencies to stop communicating with the public through news releases, official social media accounts and correspondence. Critics raised the concern that the public be prevented from knowing the results of research conducted with taxpayer funds. (The Washington Post, January 24, 2017, by Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis)

Law professor Eugene Volokh affirms that the First Amendment does not prevent the Trump administration from muzzling its employees. Under the 2006 U.S. Supreme Court decision Garcetti v. Ceballos, employees do not have the right to determine the content of official speech in defiance 0f their superiors. The Washington Post, January 25, 2017,