NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)
30th June, 1971 : The US Supreme Court decided today that the New York Times and Washington Post are free to publish the secret “Pentagon Papers” on the Vietnam war. The Justice Department prosecuted the two newspapers for publishing extracts of the “Papers”, claiming national security had been jeopardised. A majority of the nine justices reminded the Government of the First Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees the freedom of the press and forbids restraint before the publication.
[ They bravely reminded Richard Nixon, but only one judge dared to remind Abraham Lincoln of the First Amendment. I suspect that today none would dare to remind Hussain Obama.
History: The First Amendment was adopted in December 1791. The US Civil War is generally considered to had started in March 1861 and in the following month Lincoln commenced wholesale arresting of suspects without warrant. “Most of his early illegal arrests were in reaction to the pro-Confederacy sentiments in Baltimore, Maryland, where, on April 18, 1861, crowds of civilians tried to prevent newly raised regiments of Union Army from passing through the city. The soldiers fired on the civilians, and the civilians attacked back with clubs. At least ten were killed on each side.
Lincoln reacted to the Baltimore Massacre by issuing an order that anyone who looked like a troublemaker could be arrested on a line between Baltimore and Philadelphia…
US. Supreme Court chief Justice Roger B. Taney demanded to know by what authority Lincoln could suspend habeas corpus … Lincoln issued an arrest warrant for the eighty-four-year-old chief Justice.
Over the course of the war, Lincoln arrested more than 14,000 civilians without charging them with specific crimes… In addition, Lincoln violated the First Amendment by arresting newspaper editors who irritated him with their editorials or news coverage.” ]