Seattle Times Co. v. Rhinehart

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In Seattle Times Co. v. Rhinehart, 467 U.S. 20 (1984), the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that there is no First Amendment right to disseminate, in advance of trial, information gained through the pretrial discovery process.

Justice Lewis Powell wrote the decision for the Court. Justice William Brennan concurred, and was joined by Justice Thurgood Marshall.

This decision has been frequently criticized or distinguished. Note also the limited scope of this decision. Information that one "lawfully obtains truthful information about a matter of public significance" is protected by the First Amendment, and "state officials may not constitutionally punish publication of the information, absent a need to further a state interest of the highest order." Smith v. Daily Mail Publishing Co., 443 U.S. 97, 103 (1979); Florida Star v. B. J. F., 491 U.S. 524, 533 (1989).