The Supreme Court Of The United States — страница 2

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about the Pentagon Papers was an example of prior restraint. The Times contended that this would be a violation of freedom of the press, which is guaranteed in the first Amendment. The federal governme nt’s side of the argument was that the publication of this top secret informatio n would put the lives of soldiers in danger, and give assistance during wartime to enemies of the United States (Bender, 139). This case was argued in front of the Supreme Court on June 26, 1971, a r ecord of only 17 days after the conflict first arose with the publication of thi s material, and only 15 days after the first judge heard the case (Zeinert, 43). The verdict came four days later on June 30, 1971, when the court ruled 6-3 in The justices in the majority were, Justice Black, Justice

Douglas, Justi ce Brennan, Justice Stewart, Justice White, and Justice Marshall. Each of these Justices felt that for one reason or another freedom of speech was more importa nt than national security in this case, although leaving open the option that in other cases, national security could end up being more important than freedom o f speech. Justice Douglas wrote “The First Amendment provides that ‘Congress sh all make no law… abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.’ That leave s, in my view, no room for governmental restraint on the press.” (Findlaw) Just ice Brennan thought the government might properly restrain the press in certain clear emergencies. But the circumstances of this case did not present such an e mergency, Brennan argued, that there should

have been no injunctive restraint. The government sought the injunction on the grounds that the publication ‘could, ‘ ‘might,’ or ‘may’ damage national security (Findlaw). The dissenters, Chief Justice Burger, Justice Harlan, and Justice Blackm un, all lamented the haste with which the case had been decided. They contested that the press did not deserve absolute protection from prior restraint. Burge r said that the exception which might permit prior restraint “may be lurking in these cases and would have been flushed had they been properly considered in the trial courts, free from the unwarranted deadlaw) Justice Harlan still had many questions which he wanted answered and woul d have sent this case back to the lower courts for further hearings, during whic h time

he would have continued the temporary restraining order on the publicatio n of these materials to remain in effect. Harlan said “he could not believe that the doctrine prohibiting prior restraints reaches to the point of preventing co urts from maintaining the status quo long enough to act responsibly in matters o f such national importance.” (Findlaw) The Supreme Court decision in this case was a clear defeat for advocates of prio r restraint under conditions of wartime or other national crisis. The decision also encouraged the media in their efforts to check federal government officials or hold them accountable by obtaining and publishing information that the gover nment wants to keep away from the public’s view. The debate over freedom of the press is brought up again in

the Supreme Court case of Board of Education, Island Trees v. Pico. This case deals with th e issue of banned books in a public high school library, and the right to censor what people can and cannot read. This case began on the night of November 7, 1 975 when two members of the district’s school board walked out of the meeting an d into the school library. These two school board members, Frank Martin, and th e school board president Richard Ahrens, went and removed a total of 11 books fr om the library and other rooms in the school (Gold, 17). dlines and frenetic pressures.” (Fin Three months later after a regularly scheduled school board meeting certain scho ol board members met with the superintendent of the school district, Richard Mor row. The school board members

demanded that these books, which had since been r eplaced back in the school, be removed again so that the school board members ca n read them and decide weather they should be kept off the shelves or not. Morr ow told them that he did not agree with their action, and told them to follow a policy they had previously agreed upon for reviewing books in times like this. Nonetheless the books were removed and brought to Morrow’s office, as he still h oped to get the board members to allow the books to be placed back on the shelve s (Gold, 22). The eleven books that had been removed from the school were Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut; The Fixer by Bernard Malamud; The Naked Ape bye Desmond Morris ; Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas; Best Short Stories by Negro Writers, e