Silha Lecture 2001 To Focus on Bartnicki v. Vopper

Lee Levine, the prominent First Amendment attorney who represented the media defendants in Bartnicki v. Vopper, currently pending before the Supreme Court of the United States, will present the 2001 Annual Silha Lecture on Tuesday, October 2, 2001,beginning at 7 p.m. The Lecture will take place in Cowles Auditorium on the West Bank of the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota, and will be followed by a reception in the atrium outside the auditorium.

The Bartnicki v. Vopper case has been one of the most closely monitored cases by media groups in recent history. (For an in-depth look at the case, see the Silha Center Fall 2000 Bulletin. The issue can be found on the Silha Center's website at A cellular telephone call between two union activists was intercepted, and subsequently broadcast during Fred Vopper's radio talk show. Although no allegation was made that the radio show host had anything to do with the interception, he was sued based on language in state and federal wiretapping laws (see 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. section5701 et seq., and 18 U.S.C. section2510 et seq.) making it illegal to disseminate, as well as to tape, cell phone conversations without the consent of the parties. The high court's resolution of the case is likely to consider not only how the tape recording was obtained, but the newsworthiness of the conversation, as well as the potential impact on journalists' ability to collect and report news.

Levine is a founding partner of the Washington, D.C. law firm Levine Sullivan & Koch, LLP and is an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center. He is a past chair of the American Bar Association's Forum on Communications Law, the principal national association of attorneys practicing in the fields of media and communications law, and is recognized in The Best Lawyers in America as a leading expert in media law.

In addition to Bartnicki v. Vopper, Levine also argued Harte-Hanks Communications, Inc. v. Connaughton before the United States Supreme Court. He has litigated in the courts of more than 20 states and the District of Columbia and has appeared in most federal courts of appeal and in the highest courts of ten states. He is one of the authors of the textbook, Newsgathering and the Law, and has written several articles, among them, "Branzburg Revisted: Confidential Sources and First Amendment Values" and "The Myth of Pre-Trial Publicity."

Levine is a past chair of the Editorial Board of The Communications Lawyer, a quarterly publication of the American Bar Association, and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Media Law Reporter. He is a member of the American Bar Association and received his law degree from Yale University, where he was the managing editor of the Yale Law Journal. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.

The Silha Lecture is free and open to the public. For additional information, please contact Elaine Hargrove-Simon by e-mail at or by phone at (612) 625-3421.



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This page contains a single entry by cla published on November 13, 2009 10:45 AM.

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