The most fundamental violation of freedom of the press is considered to be a prior restraint—an order issued by a court that prohibits the publication or broadcast of material that in some way is deemed especially harmful. Prior restraints have come up in many different contexts, including permits for demonstrations and ratings for movies. In this guide, however, we focus on two of the most important areas—where publication of information may endanger national security and where it may harm a defendant’s right to a fair trial under the Sixth Amendment.
On November 30th, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Van Buren vs. United States, a case that could have huge implications for data journalists and cybersecurity researchers. At the heart of the case is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a federal law that press advocates say is too broadly written and can be used to punish journalists for using common newsgathering techniques.
Federal prosecutors say they will abandon efforts to prevent Michael Cohen from talking to the media and publishing his tell-all book on the president. The letter comes one week after Hellerstein ordered Cohen’s release from prison. Cohen was returned to prison after he refused to sign an agreement barring him from posting on social media, talking to the press, and releasing his forthcoming book on Trump.
A federal judge orders Cohen to be released after finding that the purpose of his re-imprisonment was in retaliation for his plans to criticize Trump. Prior to being put back in prison, Cohen was pressured into signing an agreement that would have relinquished his First Amendment rights.
According to the petition, Cohen was asked to sign a form agreeing not to publish the book as a condition of his release. His lawyers and the ACLU are asking the US District Court for the Southern District of New York for his immediate release into home confinement.
Mary Trump is now free to speak publicly about her memoir “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.” The ruling is a blow to the Trump family who sued to stop the book's publication arguing that it violates an old nondisclosure agreement.
Represented by the Knight First Amendment Institute, the judges allege that the new policy amounts to an unconstitutional prior restraint. "There is an ongoing national debate about the wisdom and fairness of recent changes to immigration laws," the complaint says. "Immigration judges have unique insights to contribute to this discussion."
“Unlike Ms. Trump, [Simon & Schuster] has not agreed to surrender or relinquish any of its First Amendment rights,” wrote Judge Alan Scheinkman, the presiding judge of the state’s Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department.