3 English H
February 27, 2012
The Pentagon Papers Case
In the past, there has always been conflict between the free press and the government. This conflict was very evident in the Pentagon Papers case, also known as New York Times Co. v. United States. Historically, the Supreme Court has disagreed on the limitations that can be placed on the First Amendment. The Supreme Court faced these issues in the case of The New York Times. The newspaper obtained a copy of a Defense Department report that explained government deception in the Vietnam War. The Pentagon Papers emerged when the American people disagreed on the United States involvement in the war. Under the First Amendment, The New York Times argued …show more content…
The lawyers only had approximately twenty hours to prepare their oral arguments and briefs. On June 30, 1971, only five days after the case started, the Supreme Court issued its decision.
The Supreme Court ended up with a 6-3 vote against a prior restraint affecting the publication of the Pentagon Papers. Justices Burger, Blackmun, and Harlan objected and Justices Black, Brennan, Douglas, Marshall, Stewart, and White agreed. The per curiam of the verdict as seen on a website document, states: Any system of prior restraints of expression comes to this Court bearing a heavy presumption against its constitutional validity. Therefore, the government carried a heavy burden of showing justification for the imposition of such a restraint. The District Court for the Southern District of New York, in The New York Times case, and the District Court for the District of Columbia and the Albo 5 Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in The Washington Post case, held that the Government had not met that burden. We agree. (Bruce, par.2) The brief opinion reflected the wide range of views of the nine judges. The Court could not come to agreement on a standard for determining how the government should handle prior restraint in subsequent