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Nebraska Press Assn. v. Stuart

United States Supreme Court
427 U.S. 539 (1976)

Nebraska Press Assn. v. Stuart


Six people were murdered in a small town. The next day, Erwin Charles Simants was immediately taken into custody and arraigned by the Lincoln County Court. The case was highly publicized, and Simants’ attorney joined the county attorney in requesting an order limiting the information that could be published on the grounds that disclosure could taint the jury pool. The judge granted the motion and entered a gag order prohibiting attendees from publicly disclosing any evidence. After a preliminary hearing, trial was set in the district court. The Nebraska Press Association (plaintiff) challenged the gag order, but Judge Stuart (defendant) refused to lift it due to the “clear and present danger that pre-trial publicity could impinge on the defendant’s right to a fair trial.” The Nebraska State Supreme Court modified the order to limit the types of information subject to the order. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider whether the order violated the First Amendment right to freedom of the press.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Burger, C.J.)

Concurrence (Stevens, J.)

Concurrence (White, J.)

Concurrence (Brennan, J.)

Concurrence (Powell, J.)

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