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prior restraint n: 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 in the Important Cases section 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.”
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.