A Near Miss

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  • In the 1900s, The Saturday Press published untrue and scandalous articles spreading lies about Minneapolis and how it was allegedly controlled by Jewish gangsters.
  • Jay Near and The Saturday Press were sued for violating the Minnesota Gag Law by publishing the defamatory and offensive articles about Minneapolis.
  • Jay Near tried to get the lawsuit diminished by arguing that the Gag Law violated the First Amendment freedom of the press, which states, “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom…of the press,” but it was a fruitless attempt because the judge rejected the claim.
  • The judge ordered for Near to never have the ability to publish in a newspaper in the future. This caused Near to appeal all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to declare the Minnesota Gag Law unconstitutional. They had decided that it did, in fact, go against the First Amendment freedom of the press.
  • Today, no legislation can be passed to limit what you publish in a newspaper. This is a positive, yet negative as well, change that helps shape the way America media is now.
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