10 Most Important U.S. Supreme Court Cases for Journalists


Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart (1976)

While presiding over a widely publicized murder trial, a Nebraska state trial judge kept reporters from publishing or broadcasting accounts of confessions made by the accused to the police. The judge felt that prior restraint (an order not to print information before it's actually printed) was necessary in order to give the accused a fair trial.

The Supreme Court, however, found that the judge's order violated the First and Fourteenth amendments. The court felt that implementing prior restraint wouldn't affect the trial's outcome. Chief Justice Warren Burger reasoned that the "whole community should not be restrained from discussing a subject intimately affecting life within," thus protecting the press' responsibility to provide information of public interest [source: Oyez].