PRESS FREEDOM AND THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE: CONTEMPT OF COURT
IT IS ESSENTIAL to a free and independent judiciary that the "calm course of justice" be maintained so that the minds of jurors and judges are not "distorted by extra-judicial considerations."
To function properly, "courts must have the authority 'necessary in a strict sense' to enable them to go on with their work. In doing their work, courts, like others, may encounter obstructions. They must, therefore, be invested with incidental powers of self-protection. A clamor in a courtroom may interrupt proceedings; a contumacious witness may halt a trial. . . ."1
A disruptive clamor can take many forms. In some situations, newspaper or broadcasting reports, pictures, and editorials on approaching or pending trials may have an inflammatory effect and consequently obstruct the fair administration of justice.
To maintain the required courtroom calm, judges have the contempt power. Any disobedience of constituted legal authority or disrespect may constitute contempt. The power to enforce legal judgments, decrees, and orders is, of course, inherent in the administration of justice. Without it, courts would be ineffectual.
But how far does the contempt power extend? It certainly encompasses disturbances within the court itself, but does it____________________