Thursday, June 30, 2011
Forty years ago Thursday, the Supreme Court decided 6-3 in favor of the New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case. Officially known as New York Times Company vs. United States, this is the infamous lawsuit in which the administration of President Richard Nixon tried to stop the Times from publishing classified information about Vietnam War decision making. The papers were leaked to the Times by former government military analyst Daniel Ellsberg. The Court ruled that the First Amendment right to freedom of the press trumped the government's right to stop the Times from publishing its secrets. The decision is considered a hallmark of American journalistic freedom.