NEW YORK TIMES v. UNITED STATES

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
1873
Petitioner 
New York Times
Respondent 
United States
Consolidation 
United States v. Washington Post, No. 1885
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the United States)
(Argued the case for the respondents)
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Term:
Facts of the Case 

In what became known as the "Pentagon Papers Case," the Nixon Administration attempted to prevent the New York Times and Washington Post from publishing materials belonging to a classified Defense Department study regarding the history of United States activities in Vietnam. The President argued that prior restraint was necessary to protect national security. This case was decided together with United States v. Washington Post Co.

Question 

Did the Nixon administration's efforts to prevent the publication of what it termed "classified information" violate the First Amendment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 6 votes for New York Times, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 1: Speech, Press, and Assembly

Yes. In its per curiam opinion the Court held that the government did not overcome the "heavy presumption against" prior restraint of the press in this case. Justices Black and Douglas argued that the vague word "security" should not be used "to abrogate the fundamental law embodied in the First Amendment." Justice Brennan reasoned that since publication would not cause an inevitable, direct, and immediate event imperiling the safety of American forces, prior restraint was unjustified.

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NEW YORK TIMES v. UNITED STATES. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 23 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1970/1970_1873>.
NEW YORK TIMES v. UNITED STATES, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1970/1970_1873 (last visited October 23, 2014).
"NEW YORK TIMES v. UNITED STATES," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 23, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1970/1970_1873.