Nebraska State Constitution Article I-5
Freedom of speech and press.
Every person may freely speak, write and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty; and in all trials for libel, both civil and criminal, the truth when published with good motives, and for justifiable ends, shall be a sufficient defense.
- Neb. Const. art. I, sec. 5 (1875).
1. Freedom of speech
2. Freedom of the press
1. Freedom of speech
Because the question of whether an initiative measure should appear on the ballot is determined solely by a state's constitution, the resubmission clause does not restrict the right to political association. State ex rel. Lemon v. Gale, 272 Neb. 295, 721 N.W.2d 347 (2006).
The resubmission clause of Neb. Const. art. III, sec. 2, is a limitation on the initiative process itself, but does not restrict speech or expression because it does not regulate the process of advocacy by dictating who can speak or how they must go about speaking. State ex rel. Lemon v. Gale, 272 Neb. 295, 721 N.W.2d 347 (2006).
A legislative act with an effective date prior to the date a referendum election on the act can be held does not violate the constitutional right to free speech, based on the fact that Nebraska's referendum provisions make it difficult for sponsors to repeal the act and even more difficult to suspend its operation. Pony Lake Sch. Dist. v. State Committee for Reorg., 271 Neb. 173, 710 N.W.2d 609 (2006).
State restrictions on initiative and referendum rights violate the guarantee of free speech when they significantly inhibit communication with voters about proposed political change and are not warranted by the state interests (administrative efficiency, fraud detection, and informing voters) alleged to justify those restrictions. Pony Lake Sch. Dist. v. State Committee for Reorg., 271 Neb. 173, 710 N.W.2d 609 (2006).
The parameters of the constitutional right to freedom of speech are the same under both the federal and the state Constitutions. Pony Lake Sch. Dist. v. State Committee for Reorg., 271 Neb. 173, 710 N.W.2d 609 (2006).
The parameters of the constitutional right to freedom of speech are the same under this provision and the U.S. Constitution. State v. Hookstra, 263 Neb. 116, 638 N.W.2d 829 (2002).
A content-neutral nude dancing ordinance satisfies the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech when the ordinance (1) is within the power of the government to enact, (2) reasonably furthers a substantial government interest, (3) is unrelated to the suppression of free expression, and (4) imposes a restriction that is no greater than is essential to the furtherance of the substantial government interest. Village of Winslow v. Sheets, 261 Neb. 203, 622 N.W.2d 595 (2001).
The parameters of the constitutional right to freedom of speech are the same under the Nebraska and U.S. Constitutions. Village of Winslow v. Sheets, 261 Neb. 203, 622 N.W.2d 595 (2001).
The free speech provision of the Nebraska Constitution does not guarantee a picketer or a protester an audience, it only guarantees a reasonable opportunity to speak. Hartford v. Womens Services, P.C., 239 Neb. 540, 477 N.W.2d 161 (1991).
A prior restraint on speech is not per se unconstitutional, but there is a heavy presumption against its constitutional validity. To be lawful, a prior restraint on speech must fit within one of the narrowly defined exceptions to the prohibition against prior restraints. Content-based restrictions on commercial speech are permissible. Commercial speech is speech related solely to the economic interests of the speaker and the audience, or speech which does no more than propose a commercial transaction. Speech intended to exercise a coercive impact is not removed from the reach of the first amendment. J. Q. Office Equip. v. Sullivan, 230 Neb. 397, 432 N.W.2d 211 (1988).
As used in section 28-729, "resist" is not unconstitutionally vague, and use of "fighting words" to constitute "abuse" depends upon the circumstances under which used. State v. Boss, 195 Neb. 467, 238 N.W.2d 639 (1976).
2. Freedom of the press
Obscenity is not within the protection of freedom of the press. State v. Pocras, 166 Neb. 642, 90 N.W.2d 263 (1958).
The freedom implies the publisher's respect for the constitutional rights of others, including the rights of litigants to appear before an independent, impartial court uninfluenced or unembarrassed by contemptuous publications pending litigation. State v. Lovell, 117 Neb. 710, 222 N.W. 625 (1929).
The publication of political matter in a newspaper cannot be enjoined merely because it is false or misleading, such relief being forbidden by this section of the Constitution. Howell v. Bee Pub. Co., 100 Neb. 39, 158 N.W. 358 (1916).
Constitution does not protect any person from punishment for contempt of court for publishing a newspaper article commenting upon a pending cause or proceeding when the publication is calculated to hinder, obstruct, or impede the due administration of justice. Rosewater v. State, 47 Neb. 630, 66 N.W. 640 (1896).
When a publication is made by a chief officer of a fraternal insurance association, addressed to the members of the association, concerning a subject matter which affects the general welfare of the association, such communication, although containing words which are libelous per se, is qualifiedly privileged, and is a complete defense unless it is shown by plaintiff by a preponderance of the evidence that the publication was made with express malice. Peterson v. Cleaver, 105 Neb. 438, 181 N.W. 187 (1920).
Where the purpose of members of village board in signing notice to hotel keeper was to do away with bawdy house, rather than to injure plaintiff, it was with good motives, and for justifiable ends. Deupree v. Thorton, 98 Neb. 804, 154 N.W. 557 (1915).
Truth alone is not a defense in action for libel unless with good motives and for justifiable ends. Wertz v. Sprecher, 82 Neb. 834, 118 N.W. 1071 (1908); Neilson v. Jensen, 56 Neb. 430, 76 N.W. 866 (1898); Pokrok Zapadu Pub. Co. v. Zizkovsky, 42 Neb. 64, 60 N.W. 358 (1894).
In a criminal prosecution for publishing an alleged libelous article, the truth of the article, when established, is a perfect defense. Razee v. State, 73 Neb. 732, 103 N.W. 438 (1905), but see Wertz v. Sprecher, 82 Neb. 834, 118 N.W. 1071 (1908).
The protections of sections 5 and 7 of this article intertwine when films are the "things" seized. State v. Skolnik, 218 Neb. 667, 358 N.W.2d 497 (1984).
Statute providing it shall be unlawful just to be in place where controlled substance is being used illegally is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. State v. Adkins and Sutherland, 196 Neb. 76, 241 N.W.2d 655 (1976).
Statute providing that candidates for judicial and educational offices should not be nominated, indorsed, recommended, censured, criticized or referred to in any manner by any political convention, or primary, or at any primary election is a violation of this section. State ex rel. Ragan v. Junkin, 85 Neb. 1, 122 N.W. 473 (1909).
City ordinance prohibiting distribution of handbills or circulars upon public streets, does not violate this section. In re Anderson, 69 Neb. 686, 96 N.W. 149 (1903).