Values File

Free expression should not be absolute don e

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Unformatted text preview: is self-preservation of the public's liberty by assuring free discourse on the affairs of the government. The most certain guarantor of the First Amendment is the press's freedom, on a daily basis, to publish whatever it wishes without requiring prior approval from that government. But this freedom is not a license to trample on individual rights which are guaranteed by the Constitution in inks just as bold and words just as forceful as those in the First Amendment. Individual citizens have at least equal standing with the press to protect their rights. Those rights include the Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial that is speedy, public, and held before an impartial, local jury with the effective assistance of counsel. Unlike the press's freedom to publish, the Supreme Court has consistently held these rights to be absolute. The courts must seek a way to guarantee the respective rights of all parties, which was the worthy objective of the Nebraska Press test. But when one right unavoidably clashes with another, the courts must balance society's interests to determine which will prevail and which will yield. Society's interest in the First Amendment is primarily the protection of freedom to know and to criticize the affairs of government. Society's interests are equally founded in a fair and effective judicial system centered on the Sixth Amendment's unique imperative mandating that the government guarantee every citizen a fair trial. Those two principles very rarely clash, but when they do, the rights of individual citizens coupled with society's interest in fair trials trumps even the press's right to disclose freely all aspects of governmental corruption. FREE EXPRESSION SHOULD NOT BE ABSOLUTE Don E Tomlinson, "The Better Means of Preserving Free Expression," University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law Review, 23 U. Ark. Little Rock L. Rev. 81, Fall, 2000. Concerning "absolute" free expression, there is no evidence I find meaningful, instructive, or conclusive-either historical or modern-that the Framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the Congress, or any more than possibly one member of the United States Supreme Court in its entire history have believed in &qu...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.

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