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Unpublished Paper
Justice Stewart Meets the Press
  • Keith Bybee, Syracuse University
Among the Supreme Court Justices who have articulated distinctive views of free expression, Justice Potter Stewart alone placed particular emphasis on the First Amendment's protection of a free press. Drawing upon the lessons of history, the plain language of the Constitution, the political events of his day, and his own personal experience, Stewart argued that the organized news media should be considered an essential part of the checks-and-balances competition between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government. Stewart’s emphasis on the special structural function of the established press placed him at odds with most of his colleagues on the Supreme Court. His thinking is also in tension with recent changes in the news media landscape. With the decline of newspapers and the rise of the blogosphere, the United States faces the prospect of enjoying a great deal of free speech and yet losing its free press, as Stewart understood the term.
  • Free Press,
  • Free Speech. Potter Stewart,
  • Checks and Balances,
  • New Media
Publication Date
Citation Information
Keith Bybee. "Justice Stewart Meets the Press" (2014)
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