Tuesday, October 15, 2013

NY Times v. US

Case Name: New York Times v. United States

Year: 1971

Result: 6-3, favor NY Times

Related Constitutional Issue/Amendment: Amendment I, Freedom of the Press

Civil Rights or Civil Liberties: Civil Liberties

Significance/Precedent: The NY Times wanted to publish classified material, the Pentagon Papers, about Vietnam they had (leaked) from the Defense Department, but the government argued that this would jeopardize national security. The Court ruled in favor of the NY Times, not allowing the government to censor the press by restricting the information. The NY Times was allowed to publish the material, because prior restraint is unconstitutional.

Quote from Majority Opinion: "The Government 'thus carries a heavy burden of showing justification for the imposition of such a [expression restraint]...The District Court for the Southern District of New York, in the New York Times case...held that the Government had not met that burden. We agree."

Summary of the Dissent: The dissent believed that the First Amendment rights were not absolute and could be regulated by the government in certain situations. They also believed that the government had the right to stop these articles from being published before they were for the purpose of national security.
Quote: "In these cases, the imperative of a free and unfettered press comes into collision with another imperative, the effective functioning of a complex modern government, and, specifically, the effective exercise of certain constitutional powers of the Executive. Only those who view the First Amendment as an absolute in all circumstances - a view I respect, but reject - can find such cases as these to be simple or easy."

Six-word Summary: Prior restraint is unconstitutional, First Amendment

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