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GAG ORDERS IN JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS Gag orders are judicial commands that restrict the media's right to publish stories about a case or a trial participant's right to talk about the case outside the courtroom. The Supreme Court in Sheppard v. Maxwell, 384 U.S. 333 (1966), endorsed gag orders as a tool for combating prejudicial publicity, but media gag orders have rarely been used since 1976, when the Court in Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart, All U.S. 539 (1976), held that they are a form of prior restraint and presumptively unconstitutional. The Court ruled that media gag orders should be used only in exceptional circumstances; in order to issue such an order, a judge must show that the nature and extent of the publicity would jeopardize a fair trial, that the proposed gag order would be effective, and that there are no less restrictive alternative measures available to prevent the harm (such as change of venue, continuance, or jury sequestration).