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Is the First Amendment violated when the U.S government, prohibits a newspaper from publishing sensitive articles which?

In 1971 The New York Times and Washington Post obtained a government secret paper called “History of U.S Dissection-Making Process on Viet Nam policy” which then called the “Pentagon Paper” . The two publications started to print a series of articles about the document they had obtained. The U.S government claimed that this publication of the documents could harm the U.S national security. Therefore, The U.S government sought to enjoin the New York Times and Washington Post from publishing contents of this confidential paper about the Government’s decision making with regards to Vietnam policy .The government were successful, making the supreme court enjoin the two publication from distributing the content of the “Pentagon paper “. Because it need time to review document to see if governments position was justified, The District Court in the New York Times case and the District Court and the Court of Appeals in the Washington Post case held that the Government had not met the requisite burden justifying such a prior restraint. Nevertheless, government bypassed trail court and went to second circuit, which accepted governments argument.



  • Is the First Amendment violated when the U.S government, prohibits a newspaper from publishing sensitive articles which?


  • May it cause security concerns for the U.S government espaecially at the wartime?



  • Heavy presumption of unconstitutionality
  • Government has heavy burden
  • Government didn’t meet this heavy burden



There is no Principe in per curium because there is no majority opinion. The majority of justice could not agree on any of the rationale



Justice Black with whom Justice Douglas joins, concurring.


He believes that the government changes the meaning of the first amendment. This was obvious for him when the government agree to halt the publication of current news of viral importance to the people of this country. They dismiss the Executive Branch essential purpose of the first amendment which is “ Government shall make no law… abridging the freedom …of press…” which clearly explain that there should not be any censorship, injunctions, and prior restrain to a publication. The justice tries to clear a point about the press, which is “ the press was to serve the government, not the governors “. Therefore, the press has the right to and maintains the freedom to bare the secret of government and inform the people. The judgment implies that the two publications reveal a bad part of the government, which is deceiving the people and sending them off to die. Moreover, he mentioned that the two publications should be commended for serving the purpose of what the First Amendment framed saw clearly.


Justice Douglas with whom justice Black joins, concurring.


By mentioning the same constitutional point, “ Government shall make no law… abridging the freedom …of press…” he believes that there is no need for governmental restrains on the press. Moreover, he clarifies that the U.S government considers this case as an exception to bring it to the court and obtain an injunction since they believe it hurts the national interest. The justice states, “ The dominant purpose of the First Amendment was to prohibit the widespread practice of government suppression of impressing information. He supports his point of view by explain that the first Amendment doesn’t encourage to fight the dissemination. He conclude,  “Secrecy in government is fundamentally anti-democratic,”.


Justice Brennan Concurring.


He wrote separately in this case to emphasize that by every restrain issued in this case, violated the first amendment. This was because the restraint was justified as necessary to afford the court an opportunity to examine the claim more thoroughly. Moreover, he agrees that there should not be any injunction until the government has clearly made out its case.



Justice Potter Stewart, joined by Justice White, concurring


He said that “the Executive is endowed with enormous power,” however he does not believe that this power should work as a permission for the suppression of free expression in this case. He, also, believes that free expression is essential, by saying that “without an informed and free press there cannot be an enlightened people.” He stand with need for the national security in this case, but from his point of view “secrecy can best be preserved only when credibility is truly maintained.”


Justice White with whom justice Stewart join,

He believe that the disclosure of the content will have “sustain damage to the public interest”, however, he agreed that the U.S government has not satisfied the heavy burden that it “must meet” to warrant their limitation of the congressional authorization.


Justice Marshal, concurring


His concern goes fundamentally to describe the idea of separation power in the United States. The issue is whether this court or the congress has the power to make law. He clarifies that the congress is making law, the president executes the law, and courts interpret the laws. By describing the legislative roles of each authority branch in the United States, He doubt out that the courts and Executive Branch, represented by the president can make law without regard action of Congress. Which is this case prohibiting the newspaper from publishing the secret material in the “pentagon papers”.


Chief justice Burger, dissenting


Justice Burger dissents because this case has been conducted in “unseemly hast”. He believes that it would be better if the District Judge, Court of appeal, and members of the supreme court had more time to review the case. This is because he contends that neither all of them know all the facts about the case nor all of them view the First amendment as absolute is all circumstance.


Justice Harlan with whom the chief justice and justice Blackmun join, dissenting

He laments the rush and tilted seven questions that he would like the court to review. He said that “the time which has been available to us, to the lower courts, and the parties has been wholly inadequate for giving these cases the kind of consideration they deserve



Justice Blackmun, dissenting

He proclaims that this case needs properly deliberative trail. He moreover, claim the First Amendment “ is only one part of an entire Constitution,” adding that he “ cannot subscribe to doctrine of unlimited absolutism for the First Amendment at the cost of downgrading other provisions”







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