Citation : Near V. Minnesota Essay

Citation : Near V. Minnesota Essay

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I. Case Title with Citation: NEAR v. MINNESOTA, 283 U.S. 697 (1931)

II. Parties with Titles: J. M. Near (Appellant, Former Defendant) v. The State of Minnesota (Appellee/Respondent, Former Plaintiff)

III. Procedural History: Due to a complaint made by the County Attorney of Hennepin County, the defendant, J. M. Near was ordered to display reason why his newspaper should not be banned for production under the Minnesota statute or “gag law”. During this time he was also not allowed to publish, broadcast, or create new editions until a final verdict was given. Near refused to argue his reasoning based on the idea that the state statute was not only unconstitutional but also, the plaintiff did not have a sufficient amount of evidence which is required in order for one to take legal action. The District Court rejected to side with Near due to the absence of facts and decided to send the issue to the Minnesota Supreme Court for confirmation. The State Supreme Court decided to uphold the statute despite the fact that Near argued “the Act violated not only the state constitution and U.S constitution but also, the Fourteenth Amendment” (283 U.S 697, 705). After this, the case proceeded to trial and the District Court found that, “the defendants, through these publications, did engage in the business of regularly and customarily producing, publishing and circulating a malicious, scandalous and defamatory newspaper, and that “the said publication” under said name of The Saturday Press, or any other name, constitutes a public nuisance under the laws of the State” (283 U.S. 697, 706). J. M. Near appealed to the State Supreme Court once again, arguing that his rights under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment were being viola...


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...ase established freedom of the press and deemed it unconstitutional to censor the press in any way. The Court decided to discard Near’s prior limitations on his newspaper. The Court held that liberty of the press is not an absolute right and the State may interfere in certain cases. The reason the Court held that the state statute was unconstitutional because, “A statute authorizing such proceedings in restrain of publication is inconsistent with the conception of the liberty of press as historically conceived and guaranteed” (283 U.S. 697, 713).

X. Analysis and Conclusion: Near v. Minnesota is a landmark case that set precedent, which protects editors and publishers from unjustified government interference. The press can publish their thoughts and opinions freely about bureaucrats and other public figures without worrying about any consequences given by the state.

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