New York Times Co. v. Sullivan: Freedom of the Press or Libel?

New York Times Co. v. Sullivan: Freedom of the Press or Libel?

New York Times Co. v. Sullivan: Freedom of the Press or Libel?

New York Times Co. v. Sullivan: Freedom of the Press or Libel?

Synopsis

The impact and ramifications of cases argued before the Supreme Court are felt for decades, if not centuries. Only the most important issues of the day and the land make it to the nine justices, and the effects of their decisions reach far beyond the litigants. Under discussion here are five of the most momentous Supreme Court cases ever. They include Marbury v. Madison, Roe v. Wade, Dred Scott, Brown v. Board of Education, and The Pentagon Papers. An absorbing exploration of enormously controversial events, the series details, highlights, and clarifies the complex legal arguments of both sides. Placing the cases within their historical context (though they ultimately emerge as works in progress), the authors reveal each decision's relevance both to the past and the present. the result is a fascinating glimpse across the centuries into the workings of the Supreme Court and the American judicial system.

Excerpt

New York TImes V. SuLLIVan has been called the greatest First Amendment decision in American history. The case began with a full-page advertisement in the New York Times exhorting readers to “Heed Their Rising Voices.” The headline came from a New York Times editorial published earlier that had urged Congress to “heed [the] rising voices” of peaceful demonstrators in the South demanding civil rights for black Americans.

Published on Tuesday, March 29, 1960, the ad recounted official mistreatment of students participating in two protests—one in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and a second in Montgomery, Alabama. It also detailed the arrests of civil rights leader the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and issued an appeal for funds to support the protesters’ efforts. Sponsored by the Committee to Defend Martin Luther King and the Struggle for Freedom in the South, the ad featured a lengthy list of supporters, including well-known singers Nat King Cole and Mahalia Jackson, actors Harry Belafonte and Shelley Winters, baseball star Jackie Robinson, and former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, among other celebrities. In addition, the names of twenty southern ministers were listed as endorsing the ad.

It was an impressive, and effective, pitch for funds. For many readers, the ad served as a wake-up call to aid in . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.