In 1971, the case of New York Times Co. v. United States set a precedent immediately after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of the New York Times 6-3. Over many years the Supreme Court has disagreed on the limits that can be placed on the first Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press and this was an issue that was specifically addressed in this case. The Pentagon Papers had surfaced at a time when the American people were divided on the involvement of United States in the Vietnam War. The New York Times fought for the right to publish the papers under the umbrella of the 1st Amendment.
This precedent could be seen in the case of Smith vs. Daily Mail in 1979 when a publishing corporation published an article that included the name of a youth who was charged as a juvenile offender. This precedence was also seen in the case of Richmond vs. Virginia, which was also in 1979. In the case of Richmond vs. Virginia, two newsmen working for the Richmond Newspaper were closed out of a criminal trial brought a lawsuit seeking a declaration of their rights to attend the trial under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Both of these cases were affected by the immediate aftermath of the New York Times Co. v. United States and the precedent that was set.