Pretrial Restrictive Order Imposing Limitations on Public Media Violates First Amendment's Guarantee of Freedom of Press
Summarizes the Supreme Court case, Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart. During a preliminary hearing for a murder suspect, the country court issued a restrictive order limiting the media from reporting certain information. Various press members asked the district court for leave to intervene in the case on the ground that the restrictive order issued by the county court violated their first amendment rights by imposing unconstitutional restrictions on the freedom of the press. Eventually the case went to the Supreme Court who reversed the Nebraska Supreme Court’s disposition of the case. The Court's holding was divided into two parts, 1) the Court concluded that the restrictions were plainly invalid in that they prevented reporting on open judicial proceedings and 2) the Court found that the respondents had not met the heavy burden required to overcome the presumption of constitutional invalidity of a prior restraint. In this case the United States Supreme Court was faced with an issue of first impression; was a pretrial restrictive order addressed to the press a necessary and proper means of insuring the defendant's right to a fair trial? The Supreme Court had to balance the right to a fair trial and freedom of the press.