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Near v. Minnesota
Transcript of Near v. Minnesota
Near had printed articles charging that various criminal activities were controlled by gangsters, and that the local mayor, chief of police, and county attorneys were in league with the gangsters.
The content of the article was thought to be racist, prejudice, and hateful.
Governor Olson sues Near
The Public Nuisance Law of 1925 states that media cannot be published and passed to the public if it is considered to be hateful in nature.
The governor of Minnesota, Floyd B. Olson, filed a complaint against Near and Guildford under the Public Nuisance Law claiming that the allegations against him and other officials violated the law.
Near was arrested and taken into custody by the state police.
Battle at the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court Decision
The case began on January 3oth, 1930.
The Supreme Court Ruled in a 5-4 decision.
They ruled in favor of Near, stating that the Public Nuisance Law was unconstitutional under the first Amendment.
They ruled that you could not censor or otherwise prohibit things before they were published.
Jay M. Near
Jay M. Near began publishing articles in a newspaper called
The Saturday Press
Near was working with Howard A. Guilford, a formal mayoral candidate who was once convicted of writing criminal libel.
Near was known to be " anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti-black, and anti-labor"
Near v. Minnesota
Minnesota claimed that
The Saturday Press
was violating the Public Nuisance Law of 1925, often called the "Minnesota gage law"
First Trial Court
The trial started in 1925
Near was issued to stop editing, publishing, or circulating any publications
On December 9th, 1925, the court found Near guilty of violating the Minnesota gag law.
Near appealed his decision , and it was sent to the Minnesota Supreme Court. It was appealed once more and eventually reached the Supreme Court.
Road to Supreme Court
Near claimed that his publications were not criminal in nature.
He stated that his arrest was a direct violation of his First Amendment rights as well as the due process clause of Amendment 14.
Near claimed that publishing his writing in the newspaper exercised his rights to freedom of speech and freedom of press.
Jay M. Nears Side
Near was fighting for his rights to put what he wanted in his newspaper because the first Amendment gives him the freedom of speech and the freedom of press. Therefore, Near felt that this case was a violation of the Constitution.
Minnesota was fighting for the privacy of the residents of Minnesota. They wanted respect from the press to put non-offensive information in the media.
How Near v. Minnesota Affects Us Today?
Near v. Minnesota set the precedent for the government not being able to censor newspapers, magazines, or any other publications.
New York Times Co. v. United States
In 1971, a former pentagon employee leaked a secret government report- which outlined the history of the US involvement in the Vietnam War- to the New York Times.
The NY Times began to publish some of the report, realizing that the paper showed that the government lied to the American people about the Vietnam War.
The government argued that its national security would be in danger and that the documents were stolen from the Defense Department. They tried to stop further publications.
The Supreme Court rejected the governments claims.
They ruled that stopping publication wold be prior restraint.
This upheld the precedent set by Near v. Minnesota.