‘An outrageous affront to the First Amendment’: Judge slammed for blocking NY Times from publishing Project Veritas materials

‘An outrageous affront to the First Amendment’: Judge slammed for blocking NY Times from publishing Project Veritas materials

The New York Times recently obtained memos written by an attorney for the far-right group Project Veritas. But on Thursday, November 18, Justice Charles Wood of the Westchester County Supreme Court, according to Reuters, blocked the Times from publishing some of the materials on Veritas that it obtained — and the publication is vowing to fight back.

In a statement on Wood's decision, Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet complained, "This ruling is unconstitutional and sets a dangerous precedent. When a court silences journalism, it fails its citizens and undermines their right to know. The Supreme Court made that clear in the Pentagon Papers case, a landmark ruling against prior restraint blocking the publication of newsworthy journalism. That principle clearly applies here. We are seeking an immediate review of this decision."

Back in 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice Warren Burger ruled against the Nixon Administration's efforts to prevent the Times from publishing the Pentagon Papers — a U.S. Department of Defense history of the United States' activities in Vietnam from 1945-1967. But the Burger Court, in New York Times Co. v. United States, ruled 6-3 in favor of the Times. The three dissenters were Burger, Justice Harry Blackmun (a Nixon appointee) and Justice John M. Harlan (appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1955).

Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, has been vehemently critical of Wood's decision. In an official statement, Brown warned, "This is the first prior restraint entered against the New York Times since the Pentagon Papers, and it is an outrageous affront to the First Amendment."

Founded by far-right activist James O'Keefe in 2010, Project Veritas has drawn criticism for progressive activists and media organizations for deceptively editing videos.


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