29
Nov
12

Define “the press”

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. offered a provocative defense the other day of the Citizens United decision and its robust view of the First Amendment’s application to corporate speech. The 2010 decision, which invalidated federal restrictions on corporate campaign spending, has been criticized by, among others, many news organizations, including this one. But the press, above all, should have received Citizens United gratefully, Justice Alito suggested, because after all, newspapers are published by corporations. So without protection for corporate speech, consider how the press would have fared, he continued, in such landmark cases as New York Times v. Sullivan, which provided a strong defense against libel suits by public figures, or the Pentagon Papers case, which upheld the right to publish government secrets.

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