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Miami Herald Publishing Company v. Tornillo

"free Press" Refers To Press Only

The First Amendment guarantees "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom . . . of the press." While freedom of the press prohibits Congress from imposing restrictions upon the press, it does not guarantee anyone and everyone a forum for his or her opinions. The assurance does not provide for unfettered access by anyone wishing to editorialize. Newspapers were seen as a vital tool of democratic action by the framers of the Constitution. The intention was to prohibit the government from limiting the press in its power of editorial decision making.

At least one state has attempted to infringe upon newspapers' editorial decision making with a statute referred to as a "Right of Reply" law. The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down such statutes as unconstitutional because these type of regulations would allow the government to dictate what must be printed in the newspaper. In order to sustain a free press, the newspapers, not the government, nor the public, must maintain authority over decisions of editorial content, and not be forced to publish opinions that they would otherwise reject.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980Miami Herald Publishing Company v. Tornillo - Significance, Appeal Goes To The U.s. Supreme Court, "free Press" Refers To Press Only