less than 1 minute read

New York Times v. Sullivan

How To Use Milestones In The Law

In this section, the reader is invited to study the court opinions and briefs* that shaped a major facet of First Amendment law. As you read the following pages, you may wish to consider these issues:

  • What were the inaccuracies upon which Sullivan's claims of libel were based?
  • What about the advertisement made Sullivan believe it was directed at him?
  • How did the descriptions of the issues before the Court, and of their significance, differ as presented by the different parties?
  • What facts and legal principles did the Alabama Supreme Court rely on for its decision, and how was the U.S. Supreme Court's approach different?
  • What sorts of misstatements about a government official do you think would be permissible, and impermissible, under this case?

*The Court heard the cases between Sullivan and the Times, and Sullivan and the four clergymen, together. Both sets of briefs are included.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1954 to 1962New York Times v. Sullivan - How To Use Milestones In The Law, This Case In History - ISSUE