AP v. NLRB
posted by Gerard Magliocca
As part of my New Deal research, I was interested recently to read Associated Press v. NLRB, a 1937 case that upheld the application of the Wagner Act to the Associated Press. This came down on the same day as a more famous Wagner Act opinion (Jones and Laughlin) and thus gets overshadowed. In a 5-4 vote, the Court rejected the claim that the Associated Press was shielded from the Wagner Act by the First Amendment.
Justice Sutherland (for the Four Horsemen) wrote a sparkling dissent that has lots of quotable lines. For example:
“No one can read the long history which records the stern and often bloody struggles by which these cardinal rights [in the First Amendment[ were secured, without realizing how necessary it is to preserve them against any infringement, however slight."
"A little water, trickling here and there through a dam, is a small matter in itself; but it may be a sinister menace to the security of the dam, which those living in the valley below will do well to heed."
"Freedom is not a mere intellectual abstraction; and it is not merely a word to adorn an oration upon occasions of patriotic rejoicing. It is an intensely practical reality, capable of concrete enjoyment in a multitude of ways day by day."
"[T]he saddest epitaph which can be carved in memory of a vanished liberty is that it was lost because its possessors failed to stretch forth a saving hand while yet there was time.”