Libel: Go Ahead and Say It!

Freedom of the press and freedom of speech were clearly established as constitutional rights in the very infancy of the Republic, when the ten amendments collectively known as the Bill of Rights were welded to the U.S. Constitution. Since then, the courts have refereed a seesaw struggle to define the line between freedom and license. Last week, in a landmark decision, the Supreme Court unanimously advanced the boundaries of press freedom—and of free speech—farther than they have ever legally reached before.

The decision reversed a $500,000 libel judgment against the New York

Times and four Negro clergymen in Alabama. But it did...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!