The “Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open” First Amendment: From “Sullivan” to the Pentagon Papers

Commentary (November 1972).


In 1964, the Supreme Court decided New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, an important and novel decision of great consequence in the law of the First Amendment.

Among other things, the Court declared the Sedition Act of 1798 unconstitutional, better than a century-and-a-half after its expiration. Justice delayed, but not denied.

In a more contemporary frame of mind, the Court reversed a judgment in a libel action granted by the Alabama courts to the Police Commissioner of Montgomery against the New York Times.