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Near v. Minnesota

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 283 U.S. 697,51 S. Ct. 625,75 L. Ed. 1357,1931 U.S.

Brief Fact Summary. A Minnesota law that “gagged” a periodical from publishing derogatory statements about local public officials was held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court).

Synopsis of Rule of Law. The freedom of press is essential to the nature of a free state but that freedom may be restricted by the government in certain situations.

Facts. The Saturday Press (the Press) published attacks on local officials. The Press claimed that the chief of police had “illicit relations with gangsters.” Minnesota officials obtained an injunction in order to abate the publishing of the Press newspaper under a state law that allowed this course of action. The state law authorized abatement, as a public nuisance, of a “malicious, scandalous and defamatory newspaper, or other periodical. A state court order abated the Press and enjoined the Defendants, publishers of the Press (Defendants), from publishing or circulating such “defamatory and scandalous” periodicals.

Issue. Whether a statute authorizing such proceedings is consistent with the conception of the liberty of the press as historically conceived and guaranteed?

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