1) What is the historic and legal background of the controversy?.
United States is a very interesting court case. This case had to do with the United States, who were the persecutors, and The New York Times, who were the defendants. In 1971, during rising tensions over the Vietnam War, the New York Times attained top-secret articles based on the 1968 study, "History of U.S. Decision Making Process on Viet Nam Policy."" The New York Times analyzed the articles for several months, and on June 13, 1971, it began publication. The United States were very angry after this, but they didn't take any serious action. They only warned the newspaper to stop publishing any more articles. After the third set of articles was published, the Department of Justice put out an injunction to stop any further publication. The next day, the United States obtained a restraining order. What this restraining order did was prohibit further publication until June 19. Shortly after the restraining order was issued, the District Court denied the government's request for a preliminary injunction, but a Circuit Court judge did make the restraining order longer to give the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia enough time to consider the government's case. On June 22, the Circuit Court remanded, or ordered back, the case to the trial court to determine whether any of the future publications posed such grave and immediate danger to the security of the country. The New York Times appealed the Circuit Court's decision to the Supreme Court. .
The issue that the court deals with is, is the First Amendment violated when the United States, during wartime, prohibits a newspaper from publishing sensitive articles which may cause security concerns for the United States?.
2) What are the positions of the litigants?.
The position of the New York Times, who were the litigants, was obviously that they believed that what they did was just.