The New York Times Vs United States was a case that was necessitated by the actions by the executive branch of government to ban the publication of classified information. The president had given executive orders barring media from publishing information that was assumed to be sensitive and would pose a danger to the national security. The executive order was detailed and was difficult to comprehend, and it was felt that the order could be used to the advantage of the executive branch, which would lead to the infringement of the rights that are provided in the constitution. The aim of this paper is to discuss the importance and relevance of the case in relation to political rights as well as the constitution provisions.
In various instances, the constitutional rights have been at the center of debate in the United States either by the courts, the executive or the Congress. The US constitution provides for the freedom of press where the people in the US have the right to get information about various issues that relate to their country (Lewis, 2010). In the scenario, the rights affected the security of the nation, and the executive branch has a duty to ensure that the people are secure. The confusion was whether breaching a fundamental right was the way to go in order to achieve the security of the nation. The executive branch wished to ignore this right and instead emphasize the importance of security.
The case is important in that it was the first time the Supreme Court in the US upheld the constitutional right as opposed to the sensitive issue of the national security. The results were that the New York Times and the Washington post was allowed to post classified information also known as Pentagon papers, and this would allow the people to know the tactics that their country is engaging in to achieve security. The understanding is that discussing the issues in the public would make the government more responsible in the way it spends in relation to the foreign policies.
The ruling by the Supreme Court demonstrated the importance of the constitutional provisions for the people. It demonstrated that the executive branch should never attempt to violate any constitutional provision at any point (Lewis, 2010). The ruling sealed any loophole that would enable the executive to infringe the rights of the citizens. It provided the basis of protecting other rights provided for in the constitution. If the court could have ruled otherwise, the executive could probably go further to come up with more executive orders in order to deny the citizens their constitutional rights.
The case was a difficult one especially considering the fact that it involved two sensitive matters that would set a precedent. However, the ruling demonstrated that the constitution is the supreme law, and the bill of rights provided by the constitution is absolute. This means that they have always to be respected regardless of the circumstances (Bardes, 2009). The case created the need of evaluating issues carefully before giving a ruling considering that after careful analysis, it was found that the executive order was not reasonable since publishing the information was not in any way a national threat.
The freedom of the press is a key feature of any democratic society. The press is meant to serve the people and not the elected individuals, and this is why it would not be limited. The founding fathers of US were interested in ensuring that the press remained free to serve the people (Bardes, 2009). The media gives important information about the government activities such that when it comes to the elections, individuals make an informed decision. Information is very important in any democratic society and protecting press is a way of ensuring that people have information to exercise their democratic rights.
The precedent that was set in the case also sought to regulate the political class that can easily manipulate the public for their own benefits. The political class may easily be interested in benefiting from the decisions they make without bearing responsibility. This is why they Congress may pass laws that can hinder certain rights so that they can benefit but with the precedent, the Congress would never be able to do the same.
The president also has executive powers that allow them to make statutes (Janda, 2014). However, the presidential political powers are limited by the case because they can never make decisions that are against the rights of the citizens. The case made the politicians more responsible when making any decisions. They can never lie when making laws since the public will always evaluate the laws and ensure that they are not recognized if they violate any rights.
The case law that was created in this case did not in any way attempt to make it difficult for the Congress and the executive to provide security, which is an important responsibility. The message that is sent to these institutions is that they can come up with laws and executive orders that are meant to improve the security of the people (Janda, 2014). However, such laws and executive orders should not in any way go against the provisions of the constitution. Violating the constitution at any point can create a culture where the future political leaders may tend to violate the constitution.
The more responsible legislation is achievable and as executive orders are made or laws passed, there should be proper research to ensure that the results of such laws is a common good for the majority in the society. The future implications of the decisions are also important issues that have to be considered.
Based on the analysis, it can be seen that the case "New York Times Co. Vs United States" was very important for the US citizens. It protected their freedom of the press and for the first time emphasized more on the provisions of the constitution as opposed to the political powers that are given to the politicians. It formed the foundation for the protecting of the rights of the people by proving that bill of rights is absolute. It protected the US democratic right which requires that people have access to information since they can use the information in making decisions that influence their voting rights.
It also emphasizes the importance of being serious when making laws and executive orders. The new laws and executive orders should never intend to create loopholes in the society that can be utilized by the politicians for their own personal benefits. The case proved that the political powers are not limited, and the constitution will always protect the people even if irresponsible leaders come to power.
Bardes, B. A., Shelley, M. C., & Schmidt, S. W. (2009). American government and politics today: The essentials. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth.
Janda, K., Berry, J. M., Goldman, J., & Schildkraut, D. J. (2014). The challenge of democracy: American government in global politics. Boston, MA: Wadsworth.
Lewis, A. (2010). Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment. New York: Perseus Books Group.
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