Early Americans took oaths quite seriously. Then, as today, individuals who falsely testified under oath at trial were subject to perjury charges. Oaths had a special place because they had a religious connection. It was widely believed that individuals who believed in God and in rewards and punishments in the afterlife were unlikely to risk
Carey, Warden v. Musladin (2006) did not settle First Amendment rights of
court spectators but found a fair trial was not compromised when spectators
wore buttons of the victims.
Curtiss v. Strong, 4 Day 51 (1809), is a case decided by the Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut that, while affirming the right of individuals of various religious persuasions to testify in court, denied that right to individuals who did not believe in a future state of rewards or punishments. It therefore upheld the
El Vocero de Puerto Rico v. Puerto Rico (1993) said closed preliminary
trial hearings in Puerto Rico violated the First Amendment, as in the
The Supreme Court ruled in 1984 and 1986 that the public has a presumptive
right of access to pretrial criminal proceedings under the First Amendment.
In Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia (1980), the Supreme Court ruled
that the First Amendment generally prohibits closing criminal trial
proceedings to the public.
Seattle Times v. Rhinehart (1984) said that an order prohibiting a
newspaper from publishing material it received during a lawsuit discovery
did not violate the First Amendment.