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Judge Leonard Sand’s enduring contribution to freedom of the press should be included among the tributes being paid him. His 1991 decision in The Nation Magazine v. U.S. Department of Defense, 762 F.Supp 1558, came in a case brought during the first Persian Gulf War by 14 writers and media organizations who challenged Pentagon restrictions on press access to battlefields where U.S. forces engage in combat.

Beginning with the invasion of Grenada, the Defense Department adopted policies of preventing media access to the battlefield except through escorted press pools. There was a belief among some in government that a “lesson of Vietnam” was that unfiltered news coverage of the battlefield could lead the public to question some military missions.

Although The Nation case was dismissed for mootness when the short war ended, by the time of his ruling, Judge Sand’s finding of first impression that battlefields where U.S. forces operate are a limited public forum under the First Amendment greatly contributed to the reversal of the policy for future U.S. combat operations. Judge Sand’s fidelity to the Constitution benefits our democracy to this day.

Franklin Siegel
The writer represented The Nation plaintiffs 
for the Center for Constitutional Rights 
and is a distinguished lecturer at CUNY School of Laws.

Judge Leonard Sand’s enduring contribution to freedom of the press should be included among the tributes being paid him. His 1991 decision in The Nation Magazine v. U.S. Department of Defense , 762 F.Supp 1558 , came in a case brought during the first Persian Gulf War by 14 writers and media organizations who challenged Pentagon restrictions on press access to battlefields where U.S. forces engage in combat.

Beginning with the invasion of Grenada, the Defense Department adopted policies of preventing media access to the battlefield except through escorted press pools. There was a belief among some in government that a “lesson of Vietnam” was that unfiltered news coverage of the battlefield could lead the public to question some military missions.

Although The Nation case was dismissed for mootness when the short war ended, by the time of his ruling, Judge Sand’s finding of first impression that battlefields where U.S. forces operate are a limited public forum under the First Amendment greatly contributed to the reversal of the policy for future U.S. combat operations. Judge Sand’s fidelity to the Constitution benefits our democracy to this day.

Franklin Siegel
The writer represented The Nation plaintiffs 
for the Center for Constitutional Rights 
and is a distinguished lecturer at CUNY School of Laws.