First Amendment Center | Freedom Forum Institute

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First Amendment Center | Freedom Forum Institute

First Amendment | Contents & Supreme Court Interpretations …

First Amendment, amendment (1791) to the Constitution of the United States that is part of the Bill of Rights and reads,

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The clauses of the amendment are often called the establishment clause, the free exercise clause, the free speech clause, the free press clause, the assembly clause, and the petition clause.

The First Amendment, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, originally restricted only what the federal government may do and did not bind the states. Most state constitutions had their own bills of rights, and those generally included provisions similar to those found in the First Amendment. But the state provisions could be enforced only by state courts.

In 1868, however, the Fourteenth Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution, and it prohibited states from denying people liberty without due process. Since then the U.S. Supreme Court has gradually used the due process clause to apply most of the Bill of Rights to state governments. In particular, from the 1920s to the 40s the Supreme Court applied all the clauses of the First Amendment to the states. Thus, the First Amendment now covers actions by federal, state, and local governments. The First Amendment also applies to all branches of government, including legislatures, courts, juries, and executive officials and agencies. This includes public employers, public university systems, and public school systems.

The First Amendment, however, applies only to restrictions imposed by the government, since the First and Fourteenth amendments refer only to government action. As a result, if a private employer fires an employee because of the employees speech, there is no First Amendment violation. There is likewise no violation if a private university expels a student for what the student said, if a commercial landlord restricts what bumper stickers are sold on the property it owns, or if an Internet service provider refuses to host certain Web sites.

Legislatures sometimes enact laws that protect speakers or religious observers from retaliation by private organizations. For example, Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans religious discrimination even by private employers. Similarly, laws in some states prohibit employers from firing employees for off-duty political activity. But such prohibitions are imposed by legislative choice rather than by the First Amendment.

The freedoms of speech, of the press, of assembly, and to petitiondiscussed here together as freedom of expressionbroadly protect expression from governmental restrictions. Thus, for instance, the government may not outlaw antiwar speech, speech praising violence, racist speech, pro-communist speech, and the like. Nor may the government impose special taxes on speech on certain topics or limit demonstrations that express certain views. The government also may not authorize civil lawsuits based on peoples speech, unless the speech falls within a traditionally recognized First Amendment exception. This is why, for example, people may not sue for emotional distress inflicted by offensive magazine articles about them, unless the articles are not just offensive but include false statements that fall within the defamation exception (see below Permissible restrictions on expression).

The free expression guarantees are not limited to political speech. They also cover speech about science, religion, morality, and social issues as well as art and even personal gossip.

Freedom of the press confirms that the government may not restrict mass communication. It does not, however, give media businesses any additional constitutional rights beyond what nonprofessional speakers have.

Freedom of petition protects the right to communicate with government officials. This includes lobbying government officials and petitioning the courts by filing lawsuits, unless the court concludes that the lawsuit clearly lacks any legal basis.

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First Amendment | Contents & Supreme Court Interpretations …

First Amendment and Religion | United States Courts

The First Amendment has two provisions concerning religion: the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. The Establishment clause prohibits the government from “establishing” a religion. The precise definition of “establishment” is unclear. Historically, it meant prohibiting state-sponsored churches, such as the Church of England.

Today, what constitutes an “establishment of religion” is often governed under the three-part test set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court inLemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971). Under the “Lemon” test, government can assist religion only if (1) the primary purpose of the assistance is secular, (2) the assistance must neither promote nor inhibit religion, and (3) there is no excessive entanglement between church and state.

The Free Exercise Clause protects citizens’ right to practice their religion as they please, so long as the practice does not run afoul of a “public morals” or a “compelling” governmental interest. For instance, inPrince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158 (1944), the Supreme Court held that a state could force the inoculation of children whose parents would not allow such action for religious reasons. The Court held that the state had an overriding interest in protecting public health and safety.

Sometimes the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause come into conflict. The federal courts help to resolve such conflicts, with the Supreme Court being the ultimate arbiter.

Check outsimilar casesrelated toEngel v. Vitalethat deal with religion in schools and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

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First Amendment and Religion | United States Courts

First Amendment and Religion | United States Courts

The First Amendment has two provisions concerning religion: the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. The Establishment clause prohibits the government from “establishing” a religion. The precise definition of “establishment” is unclear. Historically, it meant prohibiting state-sponsored churches, such as the Church of England.

Today, what constitutes an “establishment of religion” is often governed under the three-part test set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court inLemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971). Under the “Lemon” test, government can assist religion only if (1) the primary purpose of the assistance is secular, (2) the assistance must neither promote nor inhibit religion, and (3) there is no excessive entanglement between church and state.

The Free Exercise Clause protects citizens’ right to practice their religion as they please, so long as the practice does not run afoul of a “public morals” or a “compelling” governmental interest. For instance, inPrince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158 (1944), the Supreme Court held that a state could force the inoculation of children whose parents would not allow such action for religious reasons. The Court held that the state had an overriding interest in protecting public health and safety.

Sometimes the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause come into conflict. The federal courts help to resolve such conflicts, with the Supreme Court being the ultimate arbiter.

Check outsimilar casesrelated toEngel v. Vitalethat deal with religion in schools and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Go here to see the original:

First Amendment and Religion | United States Courts

First Amendment Activities | United States Courts

Apply landmark Supreme Court cases to contemporary scenarios related to the five pillars of the First Amendment and your rights to freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances.”First Amendment, U.S. Constitution

Cox v. New HampshireProtests and freedom to assemble

Elonis v. U.S.Facebook and free speech

Engel v. VitalePrayer in schools and freedom of religion

Hazelwood v. KuhlmeierStudent newspapers and free speech

Morse v. FrederickSchool-sponsored events and free speech

Snyder v. PhelpsPublic concerns, private matters, and free speech

Texas v. JohnsonFlag burning and free speech

U.S. v. AlvarezLies and free speech

Originally posted here:

First Amendment Activities | United States Courts

First Amendment | Contents & Supreme Court Interpretations …

First Amendment, amendment (1791) to the Constitution of the United States that is part of the Bill of Rights and reads,

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The clauses of the amendment are often called the establishment clause, the free exercise clause, the free speech clause, the free press clause, the assembly clause, and the petition clause.

The First Amendment, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, originally restricted only what the federal government may do and did not bind the states. Most state constitutions had their own bills of rights, and those generally included provisions similar to those found in the First Amendment. But the state provisions could be enforced only by state courts.

In 1868, however, the Fourteenth Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution, and it prohibited states from denying people liberty without due process. Since then the U.S. Supreme Court has gradually used the due process clause to apply most of the Bill of Rights to state governments. In particular, from the 1920s to the 40s the Supreme Court applied all the clauses of the First Amendment to the states. Thus, the First Amendment now covers actions by federal, state, and local governments. The First Amendment also applies to all branches of government, including legislatures, courts, juries, and executive officials and agencies. This includes public employers, public university systems, and public school systems.

The First Amendment, however, applies only to restrictions imposed by the government, since the First and Fourteenth amendments refer only to government action. As a result, if a private employer fires an employee because of the employees speech, there is no First Amendment violation. There is likewise no violation if a private university expels a student for what the student said, if a commercial landlord restricts what bumper stickers are sold on the property it owns, or if an Internet service provider refuses to host certain Web sites.

Legislatures sometimes enact laws that protect speakers or religious observers from retaliation by private organizations. For example, Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans religious discrimination even by private employers. Similarly, laws in some states prohibit employers from firing employees for off-duty political activity. But such prohibitions are imposed by legislative choice rather than by the First Amendment.

The freedoms of speech, of the press, of assembly, and to petitiondiscussed here together as freedom of expressionbroadly protect expression from governmental restrictions. Thus, for instance, the government may not outlaw antiwar speech, speech praising violence, racist speech, pro-communist speech, and the like. Nor may the government impose special taxes on speech on certain topics or limit demonstrations that express certain views. The government also may not authorize civil lawsuits based on peoples speech, unless the speech falls within a traditionally recognized First Amendment exception. This is why, for example, people may not sue for emotional distress inflicted by offensive magazine articles about them, unless the articles are not just offensive but include false statements that fall within the defamation exception (see below Permissible restrictions on expression).

The free expression guarantees are not limited to political speech. They also cover speech about science, religion, morality, and social issues as well as art and even personal gossip.

Freedom of the press confirms that the government may not restrict mass communication. It does not, however, give media businesses any additional constitutional rights beyond what nonprofessional speakers have.

Freedom of petition protects the right to communicate with government officials. This includes lobbying government officials and petitioning the courts by filing lawsuits, unless the court concludes that the lawsuit clearly lacks any legal basis.

Continue reading here:

First Amendment | Contents & Supreme Court Interpretations …

First Amendment | Contents & Supreme Court Interpretations …

First Amendment, amendment (1791) to the Constitution of the United States that is part of the Bill of Rights and reads,

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The clauses of the amendment are often called the establishment clause, the free exercise clause, the free speech clause, the free press clause, the assembly clause, and the petition clause.

The First Amendment, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, originally restricted only what the federal government may do and did not bind the states. Most state constitutions had their own bills of rights, and those generally included provisions similar to those found in the First Amendment. But the state provisions could be enforced only by state courts.

In 1868, however, the Fourteenth Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution, and it prohibited states from denying people liberty without due process. Since then the U.S. Supreme Court has gradually used the due process clause to apply most of the Bill of Rights to state governments. In particular, from the 1920s to the 40s the Supreme Court applied all the clauses of the First Amendment to the states. Thus, the First Amendment now covers actions by federal, state, and local governments. The First Amendment also applies to all branches of government, including legislatures, courts, juries, and executive officials and agencies. This includes public employers, public university systems, and public school systems.

The First Amendment, however, applies only to restrictions imposed by the government, since the First and Fourteenth amendments refer only to government action. As a result, if a private employer fires an employee because of the employees speech, there is no First Amendment violation. There is likewise no violation if a private university expels a student for what the student said, if a commercial landlord restricts what bumper stickers are sold on the property it owns, or if an Internet service provider refuses to host certain Web sites.

Legislatures sometimes enact laws that protect speakers or religious observers from retaliation by private organizations. For example, Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans religious discrimination even by private employers. Similarly, laws in some states prohibit employers from firing employees for off-duty political activity. But such prohibitions are imposed by legislative choice rather than by the First Amendment.

The freedoms of speech, of the press, of assembly, and to petitiondiscussed here together as freedom of expressionbroadly protect expression from governmental restrictions. Thus, for instance, the government may not outlaw antiwar speech, speech praising violence, racist speech, pro-communist speech, and the like. Nor may the government impose special taxes on speech on certain topics or limit demonstrations that express certain views. The government also may not authorize civil lawsuits based on peoples speech, unless the speech falls within a traditionally recognized First Amendment exception. This is why, for example, people may not sue for emotional distress inflicted by offensive magazine articles about them, unless the articles are not just offensive but include false statements that fall within the defamation exception (see below Permissible restrictions on expression).

The free expression guarantees are not limited to political speech. They also cover speech about science, religion, morality, and social issues as well as art and even personal gossip.

Freedom of the press confirms that the government may not restrict mass communication. It does not, however, give media businesses any additional constitutional rights beyond what nonprofessional speakers have.

Freedom of petition protects the right to communicate with government officials. This includes lobbying government officials and petitioning the courts by filing lawsuits, unless the court concludes that the lawsuit clearly lacks any legal basis.

Read more:

First Amendment | Contents & Supreme Court Interpretations …

Amendment I – The United States Constitution

An accurate recounting of history is necessary to appreciate the need for disestablishment and a separation between church and state. The religiosity of the generation that framed the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (of which the First Amendment is the first as a result of historical accident, not the preference for religious liberty over any other right) has been overstated. In reality, many of the Framers and the most influential men of that generation rarely attended church, were often Deist rather than Christian, and had a healthy understanding of the potential for religious tyranny. This latter concern is to be expected as European history was awash with executions of religious heretics: Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim. Three of the most influential men in the Framing era provide valuable insights into the mindset at the time: Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, and John Adams. Franklin saw a pattern:

If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish Church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. These found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here [England] and in New England.

Benjamin Franklin, Letter to the London Packet (June 3, 1772).

The father of the Constitution and primary drafter of the First Amendment, James Madison, in his most important document on the topic, Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments (1785), stated:

During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. . . . What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people.

Two years later, John Adams described the states as having been derived from reason, not religious belief:

It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had any interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, any more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses. . . .Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.

The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Vol. 4, 292-93 (Charles C. Little & James Brown, eds., 1851).

Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are examples of early discord. In Massachusetts, the Congregationalist establishment enforced taxation on all believers and expelled or even put to death dissenters. Baptist clergy became the first in the United States to advocate for a separation of church and state and an absolute right to believe what one chooses. Baptist pastor John Leland was an eloquent and forceful proponent of the freedom of conscience and the separation of church and state. For him, America was not a Christian nation, but rather should recognize the equality of all believers, whether Jews, Turks, Pagans [or] Christians. Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. He proposed an amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution in 1794 because of the evils . . . occasioned in the world by religious establishments, and to keep up the proper distinction between religion and politics.”

Pennsylvania, dubbed the Holy Experiment by founder William Penn, was politically controlled by Quakers, who advocated tolerance of all believers and the mutual co-existence of differing faiths, but who made their Christianity a prerequisite for public office, only permitted Christians to vote, and forbade work on the Sabbath. Even so, the Quakers set in motion a principle that became a mainstay in religious liberty jurisprudence: the government may not coerce citizens to believe what they are unwilling to believe. If one looks carefully into the history of the United States religious experiment, one also uncovers a widely-shared view that too much liberty, or licentiousness, is as bad as no liberty. According to historian John Philip Reid, those in the eighteenth century had as great a duty to oppose licentiousness as to defend liberty.

Establishment Clause Doctrine

The Establishment Clause has yielded a wide array of doctrines (legal theories articulated by courts), each of which is largely distinct from the others, some of which are described in Professor McConnells and my joint contribution on the Establishment Clause. The reason for this proliferation of distinct doctrines is that the Establishment Clause is rooted in a concept of separating the power of church and state. These are the two most authoritative forces of human existence, and drawing a boundary line between them is not easy. The further complication is that the exercise of power is fluid, which leads both state and church to alter their positions to gain power either one over the other or as a union in opposition to the general public or particular minorities.

The separation of church and state does not mean that there is an impermeable wall between the two, but rather that the Framers fundamentally understood that the union of power between church and state would lead inevitably to tyranny. The established churches of Europe were well-known to the Founding era and the Framers and undoubtedly contributed to James Madisons inclusion of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment, and its ratification. The following are some of the most important principles.

The Government May Not Delegate Governing Authority to Religious Entities

The Court has been sensitive to incipient establishments of religion. A Massachusetts law delegated authority to churches and schools to determine who could receive a liquor license within 500 feet of their buildings. The Supreme Court struck down the law, because it delegated to churches zoning power, which belongs to state and local government, not private entities. Larkin v. Grendels Den, Inc. (1982). According to the Court: The law substitutes the unilateral and absolute power of a church for the reasoned decision making of a public legislative body . . . on issues with significant economic and political implications. The challenged statute thus enmeshes churches in the processes of government and creates the danger of [p]olitical fragmentation and divisiveness along religious lines.

In another scenario, the Supreme Court rejected an attempt to define political boundaries solely according to religion. In Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet (1994), the state of New York designated the neighborhood boundaries of Satmar Hasidim Orthodox Jews in Kiryas Joel Village as a public school district to itself. Thus, the boundary was determined solely by religious identity, in part because the community did not want their children to be exposed to children outside the faith. The Court invalidated the school district because political boundaries identified solely by reference to religion violate the Establishment Clause.

There Is No Such Thing as Church Autonomy Although There Is a Doctrine that Forbids the Courts from Determining What Religious Organizations Believe

In recent years, religious litigants have asserted a right to church autonomythat churches should not be subject to governmental regulationin a wide variety of cases, and in particular in cases involving the sexual abuse of children by clergy. The phrase, however, is misleading. The Supreme Court has never interpreted the First Amendment to confer on religious organizations a right to autonomy from the law. In fact, in the case in which they have most recently demanded such a right, arguing religious ministers should be exempt from laws prohibiting employment discrimination, the Court majority did not embrace the theory, not even using the term once. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. E.E.O.C. (2012).

The courts are forbidden, however, from getting involved in determining what a religious organization believes, how it organizes itself internally, or who it chooses to be ministers of the faith. Therefore, if the dispute brought to a court can only be resolved by a judge or jury settling an intra-church, ecclesiastical dispute, the dispute is beyond judicial consideration. This is a corollary to the absolute right to believe what one chooses; it is not a right to be above the laws that apply to everyone else. There is extraordinary slippage in legal briefs in numerous cases where the entity is arguing for autonomy, but what they really mean is freedom from the law, per se. For the Court and basic common sense, these are arguments for placing religion above the law, and in violation of the Establishment Clause. They are also fundamentally at odds with the common sense of the Framing generation that understood so well the evils of religious tyranny.

The rest is here:

Amendment I – The United States Constitution

First Amendment – Institute for Justice – ij.org

Central to the mission of the Institute for Justice is reinvigorating the founding principles of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We seek to defend the free flow of informationinformation that is indispensable to our democratic form of government and to our free enterprise economy.

To protect free speech rights, IJ litigates to protect commercial, occupational and political speech. Because free markets depend on the free flow of information, IJ has long defended the right of business owners to communicate commercial speech to their customers. The Institute for Justice has also litigated groundbreaking cases in defense of occupational speech, protecting authors, tour guides, interior designers and others who speak for a living or offer advice from government regulations designed to stifle or silence their speech. Finally, we have been at the forefront of the fight against laws that hamstring the political speech of ordinary citizens and entrench political insiders. These laws include burdensome campaign finance laws and restrictions on grassroots lobbying.

Through IJs litigation, we seek to ensure that government regulation is constrained and that speakers and listeners are able to freely exchange information on the topics that matter most to them. Speakers and listeners should determine the value of speech, not the government.

Excerpt from:

First Amendment – Institute for Justice – ij.org

First Amendment Activities | United States Courts

Apply landmark Supreme Court cases to contemporary scenarios related to the five pillars of the First Amendment and your rights to freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances.”First Amendment, U.S. Constitution

Cox v. New HampshireProtests and freedom to assemble

Elonis v. U.S.Facebook and free speech

Engel v. VitalePrayer in schools and freedom of religion

Hazelwood v. KuhlmeierStudent newspapers and free speech

Morse v. FrederickSchool-sponsored events and free speech

Snyder v. PhelpsPublic concerns, private matters, and free speech

Texas v. JohnsonFlag burning and free speech

U.S. v. AlvarezLies and free speech

View original post here:

First Amendment Activities | United States Courts

First amendment | Define First amendment at Dictionary.com

An amendment to the United States Constitution guaranteeing the rights of free expression and action that are fundamental to democratic government. These rights include freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech. The government is empowered, however, to restrict these freedoms if expression threatens to be destructive. Argument over the extent of First Amendment freedoms has often reached the Supreme Court. (See clear and present danger, libel, and obscenity.)

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First amendment | Define First amendment at Dictionary.com

What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

Main content

Among other cherished values, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech. The U.S. Supreme Court often has struggled to determine what exactly constitutes protected speech. The following are examples of speech, both direct (words) and symbolic (actions), that the Court has decided are either entitled to First Amendment protections, or not.

The First Amendment states, in relevant part, that:

Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.

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What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

1st Amendment – constitution | Laws.com

First Amendment: Religion and Expression

What is the First Amendment?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment Defined:

The First Amendment is a part of the Bill of Rights, which are the first 10 Amendments to the United States Constitution and the framework to elucidate upon the freedoms of the individual. The Bill of Rights were proposed and sent to the states by the first session of the First Congress. They were later ratified on December 15, 1791.

The first 10 Amendments to the United States Constitution were introduced by James Madison as a series of legislative articles and came into effect as Constitutional Amendments following the process of ratification by three-fourths of the States on December 15, 1791.

Stipulations of the 1st Amendment:

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the passing or creation of any law which establishes a religious body and directly impedes an individuals right to practice whichever religion they see fit.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is a part of the Bill of Rights and the amendment which disables an entity or individual from practicing or enforcing a religious viewpoint which infringes on the freedom of speech, the right peaceable assemble, the freedom of the press, or which prohibits the petitioning for a governmental evaluation of grievances.

In its infancy, the First Amendment only applied to laws enacted by Congress; however, the following Gitlow v. New York, the Supreme Court developed that the Due Process Clause attached to the Fourteenth Amendment applies the fundamental aspects of the First Amendment to each individual state, including all local governments within those states.

The Establishment clause of the First Amendment is the primary pronouncement in the Amendment, stating that Congress cannot institute a law to establish a national religion for the preference of the U.S. government states that one religion does not favor another. As a result, the Establishment Clause effectively created a wall of separation between the church and state.

How the First Amendment was created:

When the original constitution was created there was significant opposition due to the lack of adequate guarantees for civil freedoms. To offer such liberties, the First Amendment (in addition to the rest of the Bill of Rights) was offered to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789 and later adopted on December 15, 1791.

Court Cases tied into the 1st Amendment

In Sherbert v. Verner, the Supreme Court applied the strict scrutiny standard of review to the Establishment Clause, ruling that a state must demonstrate an overwhelming interest in restricting religious activities.

In Employment Division v Smith, the Supreme Court went away from this standard by permitting governmental actions that were neutral regarding religious choices.

Debs v. United States on June 16, 1919 tested the limits of free speech in regards to the clear and present danger test.

1st Amendment: Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment and is re-established in the majority of state and federal laws. This particular clause typically protects and individuals right to partake in even distasteful rhetoric, such as racist or sexist comments and distasteful remarks towards public policy.

Speech directed towards some subjects; however, such as child pornography or speech that incites an imminent threat, as well commercial forms of speech are regulated.

State Timeline for Ratification of the Bill of Rights

New Jersey:November 20, 1789; rejected article II

Maryland:December 19, 1789; approved all

North Carolina:December 22, 1789; approved all

South Carolina: January 19, 1790; approved all

New Hampshire: January 25, 1790; rejected article II

Delaware: January 28, 1790; rejected article I

New York: February 27, 1790; rejected article II

Pennsylvania: March 10, 1790; rejected article II

Rhode Island: June 7, 1790; rejected article II

Vermont: November 3, 1791; approved all

Virginia: December 15, 1791; approved all

Georgia, Massachusetts and Connecticut did not ratify the first 10 Amendments until 1939

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First Amendment and free spech: When it applies and … – CNN

That’s it. That’s the entirety of our Constitution’s First Amendment, the central tenet of our American way of life that gets dragged out every time someone’s banned from Twitter.

There’s a lot going on in those few sentences, and it’s important to know when and how it applies to common situations — and, equally as important, when it doesn’t.

Let’s look at some common First Amendment arguments; illuminated and debunked by a constitutional expert.

This is not a First Amendment issue though plenty of people think it is.

This scenario illustrates one of the biggest misconceptions people have about the First Amendment. Bottom line: It protects you from the government punishing or censoring or oppressing your speech. It doesn’t apply to private organizations. “So if, say, Twitter decides to ban you, you’d be a bit out of luck,” Nott says. “You can’t make a First Amendment claim in court.”

However, while it’s not unconstitutional, if private platforms outright ban certain types of protected speech, it sets an uncomfortable precedent for the values of free speech.

If you work for a private company, it’s probably not a First Amendment issue.

“It’s the company’s right to discipline their employees’ speech,” Nott says.

If you’re a government employee, it’s complicated.

Institutions like police departments, public schools and local government branches can’t restrict employee’s free speech rights, but they do need to assure that such speech doesn’t keep the employee from doing their job. It’s definitely a balancing act, and the rise of social media has made it harder for such institutions to regulate their employee’s speech in a constitutional manner.

If it’s a private institution, it’s probably not a First Amendment issue.

If it’s a public institution, the lines can get blurry.

“If you invite someone to speak on your campus and are a public university, you have to respect their First Amendment rights,” Nott says. That doesn’t mean you can’t put regulations on a speech, like dictating the time, place, venue and suggestions for subject matter. It just means you can’t do so in a way that discriminates against a certain point of view.

If students protesting play a hand in moving or canceling a speaker, that presents a different free speech challenge.

“If a speaker were to take legal action for being blocked from speaking, they can’t do it against the students. You can’t take constitutional action against a group of private citizens,” she adds.

Such a complaint would have to go against the school, for allowing the constitutional breach to happen.

Definitely a First Amendment issue.

But, like pretty much everything in law, there are exceptions and nuances.

“It’s definitely unconstitutional, unless you are trying to incite people to violence with your speech,” Nott says. Even then, it needs to be a true threat — one that has immediacy and some sort of actual intent.

It’s a private company, so it’s not a First Amendment issue.

There’s that refrain again: Private companies, like social media sites, can do whatever they want.

But regulating conversations and posts online is a delicate balance for social media giants like Facebook.

“That says, if you are an internet company and you have some way for people to post or leave comments, you are not liable for what they do,” Nott says. This covers things like obscenity, violence and threats.

The problem is, this protection often butts up against the enforcement of basic community standards.

“Facebook is under enormous pressure to take down, not just violent and illegal content, but fake news,” Nott says. “And the more it starts to play editor for its own site, the more likely it is to lose that Section 230 protection.”

This is a First Amendment issue, at the very least in spirit.

“Symbolic speech is protected by the constitution,” Nott says. “In essence, you have the right to not speak. You have the right to silence.”

In theory, a private employer could require you to stand for the anthem or say the Pledge of Allegiance, but such a requirement may run afoul of the Civil Rights Act. Even in schools, where there have been some cases of students being singled out for sitting or kneeling for the anthem, it would be hard to provide justification for punishment.

“This is an act of political speech, the most protected type of speech,” Nott says. “It’s completely not disruptive because it’s silent.” Plus, it is buttressed by court cases that have decided there is no requirement to salute the flag.

A First Amendment issue — usually.

You are fully within your rights to record the police doing their job in public. And if you get arrested while doing so, your constitutional rights are being violated.

This is, unless you were doing something unlawful at the time of your arrest.

In a heated situation with police, that can also become a gray area. Physical assault or threats could obviously get you arrested, but what about if you were just yelling at the police while recording, say, to get them to stop an act or to pay attention?

“That’s tough,” Nott says. “If you were disturbing the peace, you can get arrested for that, or for other things. But the bottom line is it’s not a crime to record police activities in a public space.”

If it’s a student publication, it’s a First Amendment issue.

Nott points to a landmark Supreme Court cases from 1969 that has acted as a standard for cases involving free speech at public universities and colleges. That’s Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, which you can read more about below.

Another case, Bazaar v. Fortune from 1973, helps tailor these guidelines to the student press by stating that schools cannot act as “private publishers” just because they fund a student publication or program. In other words, they can’t punish the publication — whether it be through student firings, budget cuts or withdrawals or a ban — just for printing or broadcasting something they don’t like.

Now, a gentle reminder that this is just for PUBLIC schools. All together now: Private institutions can (usually) do what they want!

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First Amendment and free spech: When it applies and … – CNN

First Amendment (U.S. Constitution) – The New York Times

The following is the text of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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First Amendment (U.S. Constitution) – The New York Times

First amendment | Define First amendment at Dictionary.com

An amendment to the United States Constitution guaranteeing the rights of free expression and action that are fundamental to democratic government. These rights include freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech. The government is empowered, however, to restrict these freedoms if expression threatens to be destructive. Argument over the extent of First Amendment freedoms has often reached the Supreme Court. (See clear and present danger, libel, and obscenity.)

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First amendment | Define First amendment at Dictionary.com

First Amendment Activities | United States Courts

Apply landmark Supreme Court cases to contemporary scenarios related to the five pillars of the First Amendment and your rights to freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances.”First Amendment, U.S. Constitution

Cox v. New HampshireProtests and freedom to assemble

Elonis v. U.S.Facebook and free speech

Engel v. VitalePrayer in schools and freedom of religion

Hazelwood v. KuhlmeierStudent newspapers and free speech

Morse v. FrederickSchool-sponsored events and free speech

Snyder v. PhelpsPublic concerns, private matters, and free speech

Texas v. JohnsonFlag burning and free speech

U.S. v. AlvarezLies and free speech

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First Amendment Activities | United States Courts

A Conversation About First Amendment Rights with David L …

July is a special month for U.S. history because on the 4th of July, 241 years ago, our country declared its independence. Many Americans celebrate our nations birthday by gathering with friends and family to attend summer cookouts and watch fireworks. Others travel to the Capitol for even grander Independence Day festivities, filled with elected officials at the White House or at the Lincoln Memorial.

July is also a great month to reflect on the founding ideals of our country, the progress it has made, and how far it still has to go. In the midst of that reflection, some of us might even consider how our citizenship guarantees protections, which may not be accessible or practiced in other countries.

David L. Hudson Jr..

Advocacy and grassroots movements are key ingredients in affecting systemic change, but they are only possible because of the protections granted by the U.S. Constitution. Thats why we sat down with David L. Hudson Jr., First Amendment expert and law professor, to discuss some misconceptions about our First Amendment Rights. Hudson serves as First Amendment ombudsman for the Newseum Institutes First Amendment Center. He is an author, co-author or co-editor of more than 40 books, including Let The Students Speak: A History of the Fight for Free Expression in American Schools (Beacon Press, 2011), and The Encyclopedia of the First Amendment (CQ Press, 2008). He has served as a senior law clerk at the Tennessee Supreme Court, and teaches First Amendment and Professional Responsibility classes at Vanderbilt University School of Law and various classes at the Nashville School of Law.

David L. Hudson Jr. :My initial interest began in high school. I got in trouble for engaging in certain speech and felt the punishment was unfair. Later in life, my interest deepened after I joined the First Amendment Center. I got to speak at different schools and really enjoyed discussing student rights. Eventually, I took it up a notch by becoming personal friends with free speech activists like John and Mary Beth Tinker, and wrote books on the subject.

David L. Hudson Jr. :One misconception is that the First Amendment limits both public and private actors. Under the state action doctrine, the First Amendment limits only public actors. Another misconception is that many people dont realize that the First Amendment protects a great deal of obnoxious, offensive, or repugnant speech. Justice Brennan once referred to this as a bedrock principle of the First Amendment.

AGF NOTE: The protections you receive at a public park are much different from what you may be entitled to during working hours if you work at a private corporation. However, there is a grey area that exists in the law to ensure workers are not being exploited.Hate speech is, within reason, protected by the First Amendment. People are entitled to condemn religions, political parties, economic system, etc. The premise is that government should not control speech, whether it agrees or disagrees with what is being said.

David L. Hudson Jr. :Student organizers have to be carefuleven under the speech-protective standard articulated in the Tinker casebecause some courts have held that student walkouts are disruptive to the educational process. However, there is a healthy degree of protection for student political clubs and such. Advocacy should be protected but if it becomes substantially disruptive, then it becomes a problem.

AGF NOTE: The Tinker case refers to Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969). In the case, students in an Iowa public school organized a protest against the Vietnam War, where they wore black armbands as a symbol of their opposition to the war. Administrators found out and the Principal threatened to suspend all students who participated. After the protest, students were suspended and parents sued the school for violation of freedom of speech. The U.S District Court sided with the school, ruling the protest disrupted learning. The United States Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 decision in favor of the students in 1969. The court agreed that students, dont shed their constitutional rights at the school house gates. This has become known as the Tinker standard.

David L. Hudson Jr. :Students played a very significant role in the Civil Rights Movement. One of my favorite cases is Edwards v. South Carolina (1963). In that case, 187 African-American youth (and one white youth) were arrested for protesting and marching against segregation in Columbia, South Carolina.

David L. Hudson Jr. :It encompasses the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. In a sense filing a lawsuit is a petition. But, when I think of petition in this context, I think of a list of signed student signatures, peacefully expressing their opposition to a school policy (like an overbroad or onerous dress code).

David L. Hudson Jr. :A key unanswered question concerns student rights online. Or asked another way how far does the arm of school authority extend to off-campus, online speech? We still dont know the answer.

As July comes to a close, we want encourage all of you to think about your advocacy and activism. In what ways are you an advocate and what causes do you champion with your everyday decisions? Whether you are currently a student or working professionally, consider the different protections and rights youre entitled to, depending on the context. Think about your ability to advocate for yourself and for others as a sacred component of your ability to move our country forward.

Kevin Hurtado is the Communications and Development Associate at Andrew Goodman Foundation. He graduated from Ramapo College of New Jersey with a Bachelors in International Studies and a minor in Human Rights and Genocide.Previously, Kevin worked as an Executive Assistant and Officer Manager at Newark Charter School Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting educational equity in the city of Newark.

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A Conversation About First Amendment Rights with David L …

1st Amendment – constitution | Laws.com

First Amendment: Religion and Expression

What is the First Amendment?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment Defined:

The First Amendment is a part of the Bill of Rights, which are the first 10 Amendments to the United States Constitution and the framework to elucidate upon the freedoms of the individual. The Bill of Rights were proposed and sent to the states by the first session of the First Congress. They were later ratified on December 15, 1791.

The first 10 Amendments to the United States Constitution were introduced by James Madison as a series of legislative articles and came into effect as Constitutional Amendments following the process of ratification by three-fourths of the States on December 15, 1791.

Stipulations of the 1st Amendment:

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the passing or creation of any law which establishes a religious body and directly impedes an individuals right to practice whichever religion they see fit.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is a part of the Bill of Rights and the amendment which disables an entity or individual from practicing or enforcing a religious viewpoint which infringes on the freedom of speech, the right peaceable assemble, the freedom of the press, or which prohibits the petitioning for a governmental evaluation of grievances.

In its infancy, the First Amendment only applied to laws enacted by Congress; however, the following Gitlow v. New York, the Supreme Court developed that the Due Process Clause attached to the Fourteenth Amendment applies the fundamental aspects of the First Amendment to each individual state, including all local governments within those states.

The Establishment clause of the First Amendment is the primary pronouncement in the Amendment, stating that Congress cannot institute a law to establish a national religion for the preference of the U.S. government states that one religion does not favor another. As a result, the Establishment Clause effectively created a wall of separation between the church and state.

How the First Amendment was created:

When the original constitution was created there was significant opposition due to the lack of adequate guarantees for civil freedoms. To offer such liberties, the First Amendment (in addition to the rest of the Bill of Rights) was offered to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789 and later adopted on December 15, 1791.

Court Cases tied into the 1st Amendment

In Sherbert v. Verner, the Supreme Court applied the strict scrutiny standard of review to the Establishment Clause, ruling that a state must demonstrate an overwhelming interest in restricting religious activities.

In Employment Division v Smith, the Supreme Court went away from this standard by permitting governmental actions that were neutral regarding religious choices.

Debs v. United States on June 16, 1919 tested the limits of free speech in regards to the clear and present danger test.

1st Amendment: Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment and is re-established in the majority of state and federal laws. This particular clause typically protects and individuals right to partake in even distasteful rhetoric, such as racist or sexist comments and distasteful remarks towards public policy.

Speech directed towards some subjects; however, such as child pornography or speech that incites an imminent threat, as well commercial forms of speech are regulated.

State Timeline for Ratification of the Bill of Rights

New Jersey:November 20, 1789; rejected article II

Maryland:December 19, 1789; approved all

North Carolina:December 22, 1789; approved all

South Carolina: January 19, 1790; approved all

New Hampshire: January 25, 1790; rejected article II

Delaware: January 28, 1790; rejected article I

New York: February 27, 1790; rejected article II

Pennsylvania: March 10, 1790; rejected article II

Rhode Island: June 7, 1790; rejected article II

Vermont: November 3, 1791; approved all

Virginia: December 15, 1791; approved all

Georgia, Massachusetts and Connecticut did not ratify the first 10 Amendments until 1939

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1st Amendment – constitution | Laws.com