New York Times V Sullivan Summary

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As New York Times v. Sullivan began in 1960 and continued through 1964, the South overflowed with racial tensions. Just one month before the Times published “Heed Their Rising Voices” in 1960, a student-sit-in at a Woolworth lunch counter sparked the sit-in movement that spread throughout the Deep South. Not long after that, the Freedom Riders boarded buses across the Southern States in ‘62 and faced violence from the Ku Klux Klan, which only provoked more protests. This situation attracted the attention of both the media and the Court. The “Heed Their Rising Voices” ad boldly summarized: “Again and again the Southern violators have answered Dr. King’s peaceful protests with intimida-tion and violence.” This quotation exhibits the frustrated environment that segregationists created in the South, and establishes the setting of New York Times v. Sullivan. Alabama’s culture in the mid-twentieth century embodied this specific Southern social order and system of racism. Montgomery was in fact the first capital of the Confederacy. The entire state of Alabama notoriously attacked civil rights activists aggressively in the 1960s, especially the NAACP.…show more content…
Judge Walter B. Jones, a Democrat on the case in Alabama, had a history of ruling against civil rights activists whilst they were on the verge of advancements. He was most notable for his restriction of NAACP authority in the state. Justice Brennan had the opposite conflict of interest in regards to civil rights. Seth Stern quoted Brennan in his biography saying, “Real tolerance means more than just colorblindness and impartiality.” Brennan regarded the success of the Civil Rights Movement highly. His rulings on several cases including Brown v. Board of Education (1954) also indicate this preference. The judges’ opposing views on this topic support why Brennan overturned Jones’
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