Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo

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Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Pat Tornillo
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued April 17, 1974
Decided June 25, 1974
Full case nameMiami Herald Publishing Company, Division of Knight Newspapers, Incorporated v. Tornillo
Citations418 U.S. 241 (more)
94 S. Ct. 2831; 41 L. Ed. 2d 730; 1974 U.S. LEXIS 86; 1 Media L. Rep. 1898
Case history
PriorAppeal from the Supreme Court of Florida
A Florida law requiring newspapers to allow equal access to political candidates in the case of a political editorial or endorsement content is unconstitutional.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Warren E. Burger
Associate Justices
William O. Douglas · William J. Brennan Jr.
Potter Stewart · Byron White
Thurgood Marshall · Harry Blackmun
Lewis F. Powell Jr. · William Rehnquist
Case opinions
MajorityBurger, joined by unanimous
ConcurrenceBrennan, joined by Rehnquist
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. I

Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo, 418 U.S. 241 (1974), was a United States Supreme Court case that overturned a Florida state law requiring newspapers to allow equal space in their newspapers to political candidates in the case of a political editorial or endorsement content. The court held that while the statute does not "prevent [newspapers] from saying anything [they] wish" it "exacts a penalty on the basis of the content." Because newspapers are economically finite enterprises, "editors may conclude that the safe course is to avoid controversy," thereby chilling speech. Furthermore, the Court held the exercise of editorial judgment is a protected First Amendment activity. In effect, this ruling reaffirmed the constitutional principle of freedom of the press (detailed in the First Amendment) and prevented state governments from controlling the content of the press. This case illustrates the medium with the most Constitutional protection—newspapers—while Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC (1969) represents the medium with the least protection—broadcast, television, and radio.[citation needed]

Miami attorney Dan Paul, long-time attorney for the Miami Herald, was its chief lawyer in the case.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dennis Hevesi (February 2, 2010). "Dan Paul, 85, leading lawyer for press freedom". Boston Globe.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Archived from the original on May 9, 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)

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