Time Essay: Fair Trials and the Free Press

Samuel Johnson once proposed that if Bishop Berkeley and other metaphysicians doubted the physical existence of things, they might reassure themselves by kicking a rock: those who had trouble arriving at reality abstractly would find that their feet would tell them the truth. A similar standard of common sense should govern lawyers and judges in their continuing debate over fair trials and a free press in the U.S. At the heart of this classic tension between two democratic principles is the question of whether jurors are capable of rendering a conscientious and...

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