Supreme Court Case.
Daniel Ellsberg, a high-level Pentagon analyst, became disillusioned with the war in Vietnam and released a massive report known as the Pentagon Papers (sometimes referred to as “The McNamara Study”) to the New York Times. The seven-thousand page classified document told the back story of America’s entry into the Vietnam conflict and revealed government deception. President Nixon claimed making these papers public hampered his ability to manage the war and he petitioned a US district court to stop the Times from printing. The lower court obliged, issued the injunction. The Times appealed, and the Supreme Court ruled in its favor. This decision was “a Declaration of Independence,” claimed Times reporter Hendrick Smith, “And it really changed the relationship between the government and the media ever since.” Read the two passages, on in agreement and one in dissent, and answer the questions that follow.
1. How would you characterize Justice Black’s description of the Executive branch in this situation?
2. What does Justice Burger mean about the absolute nature of free speech? Elaborate.
Photo/Image: Dan Ellsberg speaking at Occupy Wall Street, 2011