New York Times Vs Sullivan Supreme Court Case

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The Supreme Court’s decision in New York Times vs. Sullivan is of the most progressive, liberal, and Madisonian interpretations of the First Amendment. For three of the nine justices, however, the actual malice standard established by this decision is not enough to protect the civil liberties of the press. Rather, Justices Goldberg and Black’s concurrences espouse the idea that the First Amendment protects the right to freely criticize public officials with impunity. The concurrences in New York Times vs. Sullivan are far more convincing than the majority opinion because they uphold the notion of popular sovereignty and prove that the obscurity of the actual malice standard hinders the freedom of speech. Justices Black and Goldberg’s concurrences…show more content…
James Madison, in his Report on the Virginia Resolutions, proclaims that “The people, not the government, possess the absolute sovereignty…the security of the freedom of the press requires that it should be exempt… not only from the previous inspection of licensers, but from the subsequent penalty of laws.” In this statement, Madison affirms that the authority of the government of the United States is sustained by the consent of those governed. Madison also stresses the fact that speech cannot be penalized pre or post publication. The nature of the government of the United States does not accept the inhabitation of the freedom of speech, as the government is upheld by the people. The only way the people can effectively criticize public officials and/or the government is through the uninhibited freedom of speech and the press. This ideal is upheld by Justice Black when he states that “This Nation of ours elects many of its important officials…these officials are responsible to the people for the way they perform their duties.” Blacks asserts that the government of the United States is rooted in popular

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