prior restraint

noun

Definition of prior restraint 

: governmental prohibition imposed on expression before the expression actually takes place

Examples of prior restraint in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Faculty members, student groups and a campus minister sued the regents in federal court, alleging prior restraint under the First Amendment. Anne Ryman, azcentral, "Maricopa colleges get complaints over showing 'The Last Temptation of Christ' in class," 7 June 2018 In the years since, the Internet has made it all but impossible for democratic governments to directly censor the press; prior restraint is now hard to pull off, even for an autocrat. Bruce D. Brown, Time, "America Is No Longer the Standard Bearer for a Free Press," 5 Feb. 2018 Absent a finding of libel, forcing a retraction would constitute prior restraint. Brian Chasnoff, San Antonio Express-News, "Why you can’t penalize all the ‘liars’," 2 May 2018 There is no legal rationale for such prior restraint. Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker, "What Went Wrong in the Stormy Daniels Case," 17 Mar. 2018 On June 30, the United States Supreme Court voted 6-to-3 to lift the injunction against both papers, ruling that the government failed to justify prior restraint on publication. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Who’s Who in ‘The Post’: A Guide to the Players in a Pivotal Era," 25 Dec. 2017 Michael Giudicessi, an attorney representing the Register and Kauffman, argued in a filing Thursday that such a stay was a prior restraint on press freedom barred by the Iowa and U.S. constitutions. Ryan J. Foley, chicagotribune.com, "Iowa justice blocks Des Moines Register from reporting court records," 16 Dec. 2017 Yet to amici’s knowledge, outside the context of intellectual property disputes — and in decades past, the regulation of obscenity — no appellate court has ever affirmed a prior restraint of a motion picture. Eriq Gardner, Billboard, "Will Recent Court Rulings Endanger the Future of Biopics and Documentaries?," 12 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prior restraint.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of prior restraint

1833, in the meaning defined above

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prior restraint

prior to

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The first known use of prior restraint was in 1833

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More Definitions for prior restraint

prior restraint

noun

Legal Definition of prior restraint 

: governmental prohibition on expression (esp. by publication) before the expression actually takes place — see also Near v. Minnesota and New York Times Co. v. United States — compare censorship, freedom of speech

Note: In New York Times Co. v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court restated its position that “any system of prior restraints” bears “a heavy presumption against constitutional validity” and that the government “carries a heavy burden of showing justification for the imposition of such a restraint.”

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