First Ammendment Rights What Is the First Ammendment? – Reader’s Digest

Posted: January 29, 2021 at 12:15 pm

Contrary to what many people believe, freedom of speech only applies to certain situations. Do you know what your First Amendment rights are?

Freedom of speech is one of our most treasured rights as Americans. Its also one of the most easily misunderstood. Recently, social media companies including Twitter and Facebook banned former President Donald Trump from their platforms, while Google, Apple, and Amazon took steps to remove Parler, the social media app favored by many of his supporters. Many citizens wondered if these steps were an infringement of their First Amendment rights. After all, doesnt the First Amendment guarantee our right to express ourselves freely?

Yesand no, says Jared Carter, professor of law at Vermont Law School for answers. Read on for an in-depth look at what the First Amendment really means. Youll also want to make sure you know the truth behind these myths about the U.S. Constitution most Americans believe.

The First Amendment is less than 50 words long, but each one was carefully chosen to serve as the bedrock for the freedoms we hold so dear. It states, 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.

Here are 19 political questions youve been too embarrassed to ask.

When read carefully, it becomes clear that the First Amendment only restricts the government from interfering with our freedom of speech, Carter points out. The government is not allowed to silence your speech, based on, say your viewpoint or your political views, he says. On the other hand, the First Amendment does not apply to private companies like Twitter or Facebook.

To further illuminate how this works, Carter shares this example: Lets say you own a restaurant and an individual repeatedly comes into the establishment and disrupting other diners. You as the restaurant owner can say to that person, youre no longer welcome in this private business.' This is why the First Amendment is not relevant in regards to Twitters ban on the former president, he says, because just like the hypothetical restaurant, Twitter is a private business.

Test your knowledge of the amendments to the Constitution.

Although our First Amendment rights guarantee we can express even the most controversial views without interference from the government, there are limits. These include:

Additionally, our First Amendment rights can also be restricted if we have an established relationship with the government. An example of this would be employees and students at a public school. Teachers arent allowed, for instance, to encourage students to take illegal drugs. Also, if your relationship with the government gives you access to classified information, you can be prohibited from sharing that.

On the other hand, the government does explicitly have the power to do these 14 bizarre things.

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First Ammendment Rights What Is the First Ammendment? - Reader's Digest

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