In 1964 the Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision in New York Times v. Sullivan guaranteeing constitutional protection for caustic criticism of public officials, thus forging the modern law of freedom of the press. Since then, the Court has decided case after case affecting the rights and restrictions of the press, yet little has ben written about these developments as they pertain to the Fourth Estate. Lucas Powe's essential book now fills this gap. Lucas A. Powe, Jr., a legal scholar specializing in media and the law, goes back to the framing of the First Amendment and chronicles the two main traditions of interpreting freedom of the press to illuminate the issues that today ignite controversy:
- How can a balance be achieved among reputation, uninhibited discussion, and media power?
- Under what circumstance can the government seek to protect national security by enjoining the press rather than attempting the difficult task of convincing a jury that publication was a criminal offense?
- What rights can the press properly claim to protect confidential sources or to demand access to information otherwise barred to the public?
- And, as the media grow larger and larger, can the government attempt to limit their power by limiting their size?