Minnesota Gag Law Case Study

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In 1925 a law called the Minnesota Gag law came into effect. The law stated that the judge was allowed to act without a jury in order to stop any publication of newspapers, magazines, or any other publications, that the judge found offensive, cruel, or defamatory. The gag law was made so that publications would be careful of what they would put in their newspaper so that anything that they put in there would not cause riots or cause rebellion from people of the state. This Minnesota Gag Law was first applied to a court case called Near v. Minnesota.
The court case started because of a guy named J.M. Near, a resident of Minnesota, and the owner of the newspapers called “The Saturday Press”. In one of his issues of the Saturday Press, he put in his newspaper that jews were out there breaking laws while the police just sat back and did nothing about it. He mentioned a few officer and one of the officers that he mentioned was offended and arrested Near. The state and the police officer believed that what Near wrote in his newspaper was racist, bias, repulsive and harmful towards others.
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Near’s took his case to the supreme court because he felt that his newspaper was not threatful towards the government or anyone else for that manner. He told the court that the state is violating his first and fourteenth amendments rights. The first amendment stated that everyone is granted the freedom to express themselves as long as they are not violating local and federal laws of the United States. The fourteenth amendment states that a citizens can pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He believed that his right of freedom of speech and freedom of speech was what led him to write what he wrote in his newspaper. In his eyes, what he wrote was not intended to hurt anyone in any way, shape or form, it was not his intention to cause any

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