Associated Press v. NLRB

In Associated Press v. NLRB, 301 U.S. 103 (1937), the Supreme Court considered an order by the NLRB directing the Associated Press to stop penalizing its employees for engaging in union activity and to reinstate an editor whom the NLRB found was fired because of his union activity. Id. at 124. The Court upheld the NLRBs order and rejected the APs contention that it must have absolute and unrestricted freedom to employ and to discharge news editors at will, observing that the business of the Associated Press is not immune from regulation because it is an agency of the press. Id. at 131, 132. The Court did not hold, however, that First Amendment concerns were entirely irrelevant and should always be set aside in the face of an NLRB order. To the contrary, the Court emphasized that enforcement of the order at issue there had no relation whatsoever to the impartial distribution of news. Id. at 133. The Court explicitly noted that the order did not in any way circumscribe the full freedom and liberty of the AP to publish the news as it desires it published or to enforce policies of its own choosing with respect to the editing and rewriting of news for publication. Id.