Case Overview

Legal Principle at Issue

Whether the New York Times and the Washington Post could be enjoined from publishing excerpts from a classified Defense Department study of U.S. involvement in the Indochina War. More broadly, whether the First Amendment protects the publication of "classified information."


Reversed and remanded. Petitioning party received a favorable disposition.


The Nixon administration attempted to stop The New York Times and Washington Post from publishing materials pertaining to a classified Defense Department report regarding United States action in Vietnam. The Supreme Court found that prior restraint was unjustified because publication would not cause immediate harm to American forces.

Importance of Case

The Court reinforced the "heavy presumption against" prior restraint principle.

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