Prior Restraints

Superior Court Judge Netti C. Vogel (screenshot from Providence Journal video 2012)

Newspaper Challenging RI Judge In Federal Court For Banning Juror Contact

June 12, 2018: Newspaper Seeking Clarification On Free Press Principles The Providence Journal is moving a First Amendment complaint against a Superior Court judge to federal court for declaring a ban on reporter contact with jurors after a trial. The newspaper’s lawyers, the state Superior Court, and the judge could not reach an agreement about reporter’s access to jurors and[Read More…]

In Alabama Town, Media and Non-Residents Banned From Meetings

In Alabama Town, Media and Non-Residents Banned From Meetings

June 12, 2018: In Contradiction to Alabama Open Meetings Act, Paint Rock Bans Media And Non-Residents From Council Meetings The Jackson County Sentinel reported that the 200-person town of Paint Rock, Alabama is trying to ban members of the media and non-residents from attending Town Council meetings without prior approval of the members. The rules also say that recording meetings[Read More…]

Still taken from the film The Post

“The Post,” Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks—What They Teach Us About Freedom of the Press

The new movie, The Post, with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks dramatizes a pivotal moment in U.S. history when the press was threatened and almost silenced if not for the brave decisions of publishers willing to fight for press freedom.The Pentagon Papers also known as the “Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force” were commissioned in 1967 to study U.S. decision-making before and during the conflict in Vietnam. In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a consultant who had worked on the 7,000-page classified study, leaked it to The New York Times and The Washington Post. The Nixon Administration sought to stop both papers from publishing stories based on the leaked documents. In New York Times v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled against prior restraint and allowed publication to move forward. We look at lessons from the film, the importance of the case and what prior restraint means.

May 18, 2018 News Gathering, Prior Restraints
Mural Photo by Robert Morris, included in ACLU's complaint

A Provocative Mural in Louisiana Stirs Artistic Expression Debate

  March 16, 2018: ACLU Files Lawsuit To Protect Controversial Mural When real estate developer Neal Morris commissioned local street artist Cashy D last November to create a wall mural using a quote from President’s Trump’s Access Hollywood taping, he did not expect the onslaught of letters from New Orleans officials claiming he could face jail time for commissioning the piece. Now the[Read More…]

Ballard Spahr: Arizona Court of Appeals Declares Trial Court’s Media Restrictions Unconstitutional

Ballard Spahr: Arizona Court of Appeals Declares Trial Court’s Media Restrictions Unconstitutional

Reprinted with Permission from Ballard Spahr The Arizona Court of Appeals issued a unanimous opinion late last month reaffirming the strict requirements for limiting the media’s ability to disseminate public information and strongly cautioning trial courts against imposing prior restraints in all but the most exceptional circumstances. The case arose as a result of the high-profile capital murder trial of John Michael[Read More…]

February 27, 2018 Below the Fold, Prior Restraints
Iowa Supreme Court

Iowa Judge Who Told Des Moines Register to Stop Story Publication Reverses His Own Order

December 19, 2017: Judge Reverses Prior Restraint Order, Plaintiff Says He Will Apply to US Supreme Court  Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins reversed his prior restraint order, allowing the Des Moines Register to publish its piece about lawyer Jaysen McCleary. The Des Moines Register quotes McCleary stating he will take the case to the US Supreme Court. December 16,[Read More…]

December 20, 2017 Prior Restraints, Top Stories
Judge Refuses to Enforce Prior Restraint Against EFF

Judge Refuses to Enforce Prior Restraint Against EFF

November 17, 2017: Federal Judge Says Australian Court Cannot Tell US-based EFF To Take Down Article A federal judge ruled that an order issued by an Australian court to take down an article published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation could not be enforced in the United States. EFF had published a story on June 30, 2016 that featured the Global[Read More…]

November 19, 2017 Censorship, Prior Restraints, Top Stories
United States Supreme Court Building

Prior Restraint: Strong Protection Against Government Censorship

Prior restraints go at least as far back as 16th century England, when invention of the printing press made it possible to spread dissent and new ideas widely. Such publications could pose a threat to the Crown or accepted religious doctrine, so Henry VIII instituted a system of licensing and censorship to control the spread of ideas. The licensing and[Read More…]

September 11, 2017 Legal Cases, Prior Restraints
Can Journalists Be Silenced?

Can Journalists Be Silenced?

The most serious violation of First Amendment rights is considered to be prior restraints—judicial orders to stop publication of material in advance through the issuance of an injunction. With a prior restraint, ideas and news never see the light of day and so never enter the marketplace of ideas. Prior restraints are heavily disfavored and are assumed to be unconstitutional[Read More…]

April 1, 2017 Censorship, Prior Restraints