New York Times VS The United States

By: Jacob Williams

When this happened

The date that this case was argued was June 26th in the year 1971. Four days later, the case was decided on June 30th, 1971. Before this, the Supreme Court had already disagreed on the limits and things that can be placed on the First Amendment. This case dealt with the freedom of speech and press.

Details about this case

As mentioned, this is a case that dealt with the freedom of speech and press. The reason this case was started is because there was a set of papers known as "The pentagon Papers." These papers were illegally copied by Daniel Ellsberg and then later they were leaked. "The Pentagon Papers" were actually reports by an internal Defense Agency that gave details about government deception in regards to the involvement of the Untied States in the Vietnam War. The papers came about when the American people were still strongly divided on the involvement of the United States in the War.

More about this case

When the new York Times got these "Pentagon Papers," they wanted to publish them. The Government of the United States highly advised that the papers not be published. The government claimed that publishing the papers could possibly endanger the security of the United States. Well, the New York Times then later appealed the case to the Supreme Court of the United States. The New York Times argued that if these papers were prevented from being published that it would be a violation of the First Amendment.

Ruling on this case

In a 6-3 vote, the court voted in favor of the New York Times. Some of the judges that took part in voting on this case, such as Justices Hugo Black, thought that the First Amendment was absolute. Others who voted, such as Justice Bryon White believed that there are some cases where the abilities of the First Amendment should be limited.