• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protects the right of the public and the press to attend criminal trials even if the defendant objects.

After New York Times Co. v. United States[case]New York Times Co. v. United States[New York Times Co. v. United States] (1971) and Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart[case]Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart[Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart] (1976), the broad rule was that the press could print any material it possessed without prior restraint, but the government and courts were entitled to keep materials secret if they could. The question remained whether the press had a right to have access to all trials. In Gannett Co. v. DePasquale[case]Gannett Co. v. DePasquale[Gannett Co. v. DePasquale] (1979), a narrow majority on the Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment stipulated that only a defendant could insist on an open trial. In Richmond Newspapers, a local judge honored a defendant’s request to exclude the press. When the case reached the Court, however, it ruled that the First and Fourteenth Amendments required that the trial be open to the press and public, but for widely different reasons. Chief Justice Warren E. BurgerBurger, Warren E.;Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia[Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia] wrote the opinion for the 7-1 majority, and Justices William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Potter Stewart, Byron R. White, and John Paul Stevens each wrote concurrences. Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote a dissent, and Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr., did not participate.Press, freedom of;Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia[Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia]Jury, trial by;Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia[Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia]

First Amendment

Near v. Minnesota

Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart

New York Times Co. v. Sullivan

New York Times Co. v. United States

Prior restraint

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