chapter  XXVI
XXVI Progress on First Amendment Rights
Pages 15

Burger became chief justice at a time when the press and other news media had begun to turn the nation into an information society. By 1970, 97 percent of American households had a television set, and new electronic media for the dissemination of information were rapidly emerging. The Burger Court made it clear that although traditional First Amendment rights would be protected, the virtually insatiable appetite for more and more information could not be accommodated at the expense of the due process rights of individuals or the privacy rights of nonpublic fi gures. On church-state issues, the Court took a pragmatic balancing of interests approach that sometimes produced different results in the cases decided. On the one hand, it affi rmed the traditional separation of church and state, while, on the other, it upheld signifi cant collaborations between church and state with respect to education. The latter paved the way for public funding of church-related schools in the twenty-fi rst century.