The Story of New York Times Co. v. Sullivan
First Amendment Stories, ed. Richard W. Garnett and Andrew Koppelman (New York: Thomson Reuters/Foundation Press, pp. 229-263, 2012 Forthcoming
28 Pages Posted: 31 May 2012
Date Written: May 30, 2012
New York Times v. Sullivan is likely the most important First Amendment case the Supreme Court has ever decided. In this case, the Court first announced that the "central meaning" of the First Amendment is the protection of political debate and declared the nation's commitment to public discourse as "uninhibited, robust, and wide-open." There can be no doubt that these principles have had a huge impact on First Amendment jurisprudence. Its impact on journalism and public debate more generally, however, is less certain. In the digital age, the assumptions Sullivan made about the media, the marketplace of ideas, and the ability of individuals to defend their reputations through self-help measures are once again up for reconsideration.
Keywords: First Amendment, Supreme Court, New York Times v. Sullivan, civil rights movement, libel
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