First Amendment the Freedom of Essay

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Sir, we would argue that while the government interest in protecting national security is an important interest, the Roth case does not justify the government encroachment on our Freedom of the press. The Roth case provides that the government can encroach on the freedom of the press only if it is attempting to protect other rights from being infringed on. In our case, Mr. President, none of our rights are at risk. The ban on media coverage of the War is not in response to a perceived loss of rights by the people, but based on a perceived threat to the country. The Roth case does not make provision for infringement on our rights under these circumstances and therefore the infringement is not justified.

Even though the Roth case was overruled by Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973) regarding the issue of whether obscenity is protected under the First Amendment, the reasoning behind the Miller case still supports our position. The Miller Court held that, "in the area of freedom of speech and press the courts must always remain sensitive to any infringement on genuinely serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific expression." Therefore, while the Court excluded obscenity as protected speech, the Court at the same time established a standard for what continues to remain protected under the First Amendment.
It is our position that because the press coverage of the War maintains literary and political expression, it should remain protected by the First Amendment.

More recently, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Detroit Free Press v. Ashcroft, 303 F. 3d 681 (6th Cir. 2002), that "The First Amendment, through a free press, protects the people's right to know that their government acts fairly, lawfully, and accurately in deportation proceedings. When government begins closing doors, it selectively controls information rightfully belonging to the people. Selective information is misinformation. The Framers of the First Amendment "did not trust any government to separate the true from the false for us."

While the court in Detroit Free Press examined the issue of whether press coverage should be permitted in a deportation hearing, the broader issue of limitation of the press with regarding what the people are permitted to learn or know applies in our case.

For example, the court ruled in Detroit Free Press that the press should be permitted into the deportation hearings because the people have a right to know what is going on. In our case, we.....

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