Justices Say Gag Orders On Press Are Prior Restraint

1976

Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart pits the right of a free press against the right to a fair trial. In a multiple-murder case in Nebraska, a local judge imposed a gag order to prevent news coverage that might make it difficult to seat an impartial jury. However, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that judges cannot impose gag orders on reporters covering a criminal trial because they are a form of prior restraint. However, the justices also note that there may be cases in which a gag order might be justified to protect the defendant’s rights.