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The Case of the Miscreant Purveyor Of Scandal

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1 The Case of the Miscreant Purveyor Of Scandal
Near v. Minnesota 1931 The Case of the Miscreant Purveyor Of Scandal

2 What’s at Stake Prior Restraint Freedom of Speech Due Process
Prevention or censorship of materials from reaching publication. Freedom of Speech 1st Amendment Due Process 14th Amendment

3 People Involved: Howard Guilford – Publisher of the Saturday Press.
Jay Near – Reporter. Floyd B. Olson – Hennepin County Attorney – later the Governor of Minnesota.

4 Sequence of Events 1925 – Minnesota Public Nuisance Law enacted.
Judges can cease publications before publication deemed: Scandalous Defamatory Malicious 1927 – The Saturday Press hits the stands. Story says city is run by Jewish gangsters in cooperation with the police chief and mayor. June 1, 1931, Near v. Minnesota decided. Nov. 21, 1927, Judge Mathias Baldwin forbids publication of the Saturday Press containing any reference to the Mayor or Police Chief. 254 members of the American Newspaper Publisher’s Association support appeal to Supreme Court.

5 Arguments State of Minnesota: Near’s Attorneys:
Contended no injunction was issued against the paper prior to publication. Near’s Attorneys: Argued no state can deny freedom of the press by using prior restraint. Said the state injunction against future issues was prior restraint. State argument invalidated Near’s 14th Amendment argument.

6 Case Outcome Court Opinion 5-4 decision.
Justices focused on 14th Amendment. The Nuisance Law was a suppression not just of defamatory material, but of future publication, a violation of due process and freedom of speech. Libel: An individual may take legal action after publication if they feel wronged, but publication must be allowed.

7 Barred Speech Speech that can be suppressed: Obscenity
Publication of critical war information. Publication inciting public violence and government overthrow. Publications invading private rights.

8 Links Near V. Minnesota case syllabus and opinions.
Near v. Minnesota recent citations. Supreme Court case resource site. Supreme Court site. 14th Amendment Text.

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