90 First Amendment Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

🏆 best first amendment topic ideas & essay examples, 👍 good essay topics on first amendment, 🥇 interesting topics to write about first amendment, ❓ first amendment essay questions.

  • US Constitution Reflections on the First Amendment Paper The first amendments made on the constitution of the United States of America in the year 1789 concerned the bill of rights.
  • The Free Exercise Thereof: Freedom of Religion in the First Amendment The Freedom of Religion clause in the First Amendment represents one of the few official documents on the planet that corroborates free will, specifically, the right to choose, in the arena of religion. We will write a custom essay specifically for you by our professional experts 808 writers online Learn More
  • On the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution The freedom that Americans experience comes at a price because there are conflicts and problems that arise from the interpretation and implementation of the First Amendment, however, many legal experts are saying that it is […]
  • Free Speech: First Amendment Obscenity is one of the exceptions, according to the US Miller Test, obscenity is a test used by Supreme Court to determine if an expression or a speech can be termed obscene and whether it […]
  • What the Founders Meant by the First Amendment? The first amendment was written over 200 years ago by the founders who wanted to protect both the State and religion from interfering in each others tasks.
  • First Amendment: Commercial and Political Free Speech However, the degree to which the First Amendment protects commercial speech is not the same as that for other forms of speech protected by the Amendment.
  • Journalism, the First Amendment and Egypt This essays suggests that the First Amendment freedom of the press clause has transcended its physical boundaries and now functions as a protective ideological bubble not only for American journalists but for journalists all over […]
  • Founding Fathers Religion: The First Amendment Role in the Church-State Separation As a result, a resolute transformation from the Puritan Fathers in 1639, who uphold the religion as a foundation of any society, to the Founding Fathers in 1787, who accepted freedom of religion as an […]
  • Does Title VII Conflict with the First Amendment The government is not justified to disallow religious expression at workplaces by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Title VII statute and the First Amendment both provide protection for an employee’s religious rights.
  • First Amendment in the US Modern Justice System Also, the paper discusses the significance of the verdict passed by the Supreme Court in each case and their relevance or influence on the rights of American citizens today.
  • Violent Video Games and First Amendment Protection Violent games appear to be a legitimate type of media with its right for free expression; however, minors should also be protected from the violent and sexual content of video games because they lack media […]
  • Religious Establishment Clause of the First Amendment Therefore, based on the theoretical application of the Constitution, the chosen case violates the Religious Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S.
  • Free Speech in the First Amendment The first amendment of the Constitution states, “Congress will 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 […]
  • First Amendment Right of Free Speech in the USA In this case, it is seen that the Public Law of New Hampshire which bans under punishment “any offensive, derisive or annoying word to any other person who is lawfully in any street or other […]
  • The First Amendment – Religion and Expression In the ruling of Skokie case, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of the residents of Skokie, although it still allowed the planned marching by the NSP to go no.in this […]
  • Pornography or Obscenity and the First Amendment Amendment 1 of the US Constitution states that the “Congress will make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, […]
  • Cyberbullying and the First Amendment Under the geographical approach, the defendant can argue that since the event in question occurs online and outside of school property, it is covered by the First Amendment and the school has “no authority to […]
  • The First Amendment: Free Speech and Education However, this is the case only “unless school authorities have reason to believe that such expression will substantially interfere with the work of the school or impinge upon the rights of other students”.
  • Vaccination in the Context of the First Amendment The purpose of this paper is to review the dilemma in the context of the First Amendment and the free exercise of religion.
  • First Amendment: Religion and Education The right to education is protected by human rights legislation guaranteeing to adapt education to the requirements of individuals and communities that are evolving and to the needs of students in their varied socio-cultural contexts.
  • First Amendment Rights and Access to Opinions
  • Censorship and the First Amendment: The American Citizen’s Right to Free Speech
  • The First Amendment and Its Impact on Education
  • Should the First Amendment Stop Protecting Hate Speech
  • The First Amendment Speaks on the Freedoms of Religion
  • Interpreting the First Amendment of the Constitution
  • Should Racist Speech Enjoy Protection Under the First Amendment
  • How the First Amendment Rights Have On Advancing Democracy
  • The First Amendment and the Constitutional Freedoms in American Schools
  • The First Amendment and Conservative Rulings of the Supreme Court
  • Ever-Changing Freedoms: The First Amendment of the American Constitution and Challenges It Faces
  • How the First Amendment Protects Freedom of Speech
  • The First Amendment and Its Impact on Media
  • Case Problems Involving the First Amendment
  • The First Amendment and Its Legal Constrains
  • Banning Books Goes Against the First Amendment
  • Federal District Court Alleging First Amendment Violations
  • The First Amendment and Label Drug Promotion
  • Discussing Three Freedoms From the First Amendment
  • The First Amendment and Its Impact on Language
  • Public Safety Outweigh Petitioner’s First Amendment Right
  • The Ambiguity and Confusion From the First Amendment
  • The First Amendment and the American Judiciary
  • Civil Rights and First Amendment
  • Cyberbullying and the First Amendment
  • Does the First Amendment Affect Your Livelihood
  • The First Amendment and Right to Privacy
  • Net Neutrality and the First Amendment: Who Has the Right to Free Speech
  • Neo-Nazis and Their First Amendment Rights
  • Public High School Students Have the First Amendment Right
  • Espionage Act Conflicts First Amendment Rights in Wikileaks Case
  • Comparing Our First Amendment Rights to the Rights of Those in George Orwell’s 1984
  • The Role and Importance of the First Amendment of the Constitution
  • First Amendment Rights and Pragmatic Solutions
  • The First Amendment: History and Development
  • First Amendment Rights, Privacy, and the Paparazzi
  • The First Amendment Constitution on the Freedom of Expression
  • The Relation Between the First Amendment and Music Censorship
  • The First Amendment Anti-discrimination Law
  • Does the First Amendment Protect False Campaign Speech
  • What Is the Main Purpose of the First Amendment?
  • How Free Speech Under the First Amendment Developed?
  • What Is the Connection Between Anti-semitism and the First Amendment?
  • Does Banning Books Violate the First Amendment?
  • Was the First Amendment to the US Constitution Prohibition?
  • What Are the First Amendment Issues?
  • Does the First Amendment Guarantee the Right of American Citizens to Freedom?
  • How Does Censorship Conflict With First Amendment Freedom of Speech?
  • What Rights Does the First Amendment Guarantee to Citizens?
  • Does the First Amendment Govern Cyberbullying?
  • Did President Hoover Limit the First Amendment Rights of the Bonus Army?
  • What Are the First Amendment Freedoms?
  • Does the Espionage Act Conflict With First Amendment Rights?
  • What Changes Did the First Amendment Make to the Constitution?
  • How Does the First Amendment Guarantee Freedom of the Press?
  • What Is the Significance of the First Amendment to Civil Society?
  • What Is the Work of the First Amendment Committee?
  • How Does the Supreme Court Interpret the First Amendment?
  • What Religious Cases Does the First Amendment Control?
  • How Are First Amendment Rights Applied and Limited?
  • Does the First Amendment to the US Constitution Regulate Ever-Changing Freedoms?
  • How Do First Amendment Rights Affect the Development of Democracy?
  • What Is the Interpretation of the First Amendment to the Constitution?
  • Does the First Amendment Affect Your Livelihood?
  • Does the First Amendment Limit the Government’s Power?
  • What Inappropriate Words Should Be Removed From the First Amendment?
  • Does Public Safety Override a Plaintiff’s First Amendment Right?
  • Should Rap Songs Be Protected by the First Amendment?
  • Does the First Amendment Protect False Campaign Speech?
  • Should Racist Speech Enjoy Protection Under the First Amendment?
  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

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MONTE SERENO, Calif. (AP) - For six years, Alan and Bonnie Aerts transformed their Silicon Valley home into a Christmas wonderland, complete with surfing Santa, jumbo candy canes and a carol-singing chorus of mannequins.

Visitors loved it. Last year, more than 1,500 cars prowled the Aertses' cul-de-sac in this upscale San Jose suburb each night.

This year, though, the merry menagerie stayed indoors. Instead, on the manicured lawn outside the couple's Tudor mansion, stands a single tiding: a three-metre-tall Grinch with green fuzz, rotting teeth and beet-red eyeballs.

The Aertses erected the smirking giant to protest the couple across the street - 16-year residents Le and Susan Nguyen, who initiated complaints to city officials that the display was turning the quiet neighbourhood into a Disneyesque nightmare.

Alan Aerts, who makes sure the Grinch's spindly finger points directly to the Nguyens' house, says the complaints killed the exhibit. They also violated the Christmas spirit, he said.

"When I grew up, people decorated everything - it was wonderful to be a kid," said the 48-year-old soft drink distributor and philanthropist. "If you can't even put up a display these days, what kind of people have we become?"

The Nguyens say that even after the Aertses hired a security guard to help direct traffic, the commotion kept them from having friends over for their own lower-key celebrations.

"We wake up to Christmas for about 45 days of the year," said Le Nguyen, 55. "You ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? It's just like that."

The exhibition's death knell came last year, when the Nguyens collected 90 signatures of protest from residents and the city council voted to require a permit for any exhibit lasting longer than three days.

Mayor Erin Garner voted against it, saying he thought the Aertses provided a community service.

"It will be a crying shame if (Alan) doesn't put his holiday lights up this year," he told the San Jose Mercury News.

After studying the application process, the Aertses decided the usual display wasn't worth the hassle.

So Alan Aerts, a six-foot-three amateur body builder, commissioned the $2,500 motorized Grinch statue, which waves its arms and emits steam as a raspy tenor belts out, "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch."

Susan Nguyen, 52, is unmoved.

"It was oppressive," she said. "Maybe not if you just spent 10 minutes admiring it from your car, but if you lived next door, it was definitely oppressive."

ESSAY PROBLEM 9 (2011)

Simon Leafgreen was a biology teacher at Tacoma Central High School in Tacoma , Washington .   Leafgreen is one of a relatively small number of biology teachers who does not subscribe to Darwin ’s theory of evolution, which he has described as “a giant fraud perpetrated by atheists.”   In his biology class at Tacoma Central High, Leafgreen spent the better part of a week ridiculing the theory of evolution and offering reasons why he thought the theory was rubbish.   He told students, for example, that there is “no way an eye could ever evolve” and that if people and the great apes had a common ancestor “they surely would have found the missing link by now.”   When students attempted to argue in support of the theory of evolution, Leafgreen would routinely cut them short, often calling them “ignorant” or telling them they had “been brainwashed by the liberal media.” Leafgreen did not spend a lot of time explaining how the species that now populate the earth did get here, but did argue on a couple of occasions that is was “pretty obvious” they had to have been created as distinct species by a creator.   Several students complained to Principal Trevor Woods about Leafgreen’s “proselytizing,” his “ridiculing students,” and his failure to cover in an even-handed way the theory of evolution, Principal Woods decided to terminate Leafgreen at the end of the quarter.   In a letter to Leafgreen, Woods cited as reasons for his decision “an inadequate grasp of basic biological principles,” “advocating religion in the classroom,” and “showing disrespect for the divergent views of students.”     When word leaked to students of Leafgreen’s firing, a number of his student and community supporters announced they would protest the decision.   Reverend Jeremiah Daniels, a local preacher, urged other students and members of his fundamentalist congregation to “Occupy the Field,” by bringing tents and sleeping bags to the high school football field and remaining there indefinitely. For two days, school officials and local police pondered what to do about the protesters, who numbered about 50 students and 25 community members.   (Reverend Daniels did not participate in the protest, but continued to urge others to join in.)   Finally, concerned about damage to the turf and growing sanitation problems, police announced they would clear the field.   Most demonstrators packed up and left when the police informed them that they had ten minutes to leave the field, but a handful of hard-core protesters remained and were forcibly evicted.     Reverend Daniels was arrested for inciting trespass. Three students who refused to leave the field were charged with refusing to comply with a police order and notified by Principal Woods that they faced a ten-day suspension from school.   Other students who participated in the protest, but who left the field when the police requested that they do so, were given two-day suspensions for “disrupting school activities.”   Please discuss each of the following questions.   Confine your discussion to a single bluebook, or a maximum of 10,000 characters if you are using ExamSoft.   (A)     Did the decision to terminate Simon Leafgreen violate his First Amendment rights? (B)     Did the protestors have a First Amendment right to occupy the football field? (C)     Does Reverend Daniels have a valid First Amendment defense to the charge he faces? (D)     Does the decision to suspend the protesting students violate their First Amendment rights?
Recently, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ordered the state legislature to authorize same-sex marriages within sixty-days.   In opposition to this ruling, an organization formed calling itself Save the Institution of Marriage (SIM).   Most of the members of SIM are religious conservatives, motivated by their belief that the Bible declares both marriage to be a holy institution and homosexuality to be an abomination. After its first meeting, SIM announced plans to actively oppose legislation implementing the Court's ruling and, failing that, take "all steps necessary to discourage these unholy unions."   Specifically, SIM said that it would deploy picketers on "church steps, courthouse steps, or wherever else these so-called marriages take place."   Moreover, SIM declared, we will picket the homes of gay newlyweds. Exactly what form the protests will take remains unclear.   Reports from the SIM meeting indicate that members favored signs with such slogans as " "Support Amendment to Save Marriage!", "SIM!," and "The Bible Says No!" The city of Cambridge is now considering legislation designed to restrict SIM protests before they begin occurring.   Council members expressed the fear that such protests will "spoil what's supposed to be a happy day" and cause great pain to the wedding participants, relatives, and friends.   An ordinance proposed by one councilwoman reads as follows: No protests shall occur during the period from one hour before until one hour after any same-sex marriage ceremony performed in any public building or place of religious worship.  This prohibition shall apply to protests within 100 yards of any such place where the marriage ceremony is performed. Another ordinance drafted by a second councilman would ban certain forms of residential picketing: It shall be unlawful for any person to picket or engage in any sort of protesting in a residential neighborhood, except on one's own property. You are the city attorney for Cambridge .  You have been asked to evaluate the constitutionality of the two proposed ordinances and to suggest changes, if necessary, that would increase the probability that the ordinance might pass constitutional muster.  Write the memo addressing the relevant constitutional issues.

ESSAY PROBLEM 11 (2010)

In recent years, hundreds of Muslims, many of them recent immigrants from Somalia , have settled in Eagle Landing, Michigan . The growing Muslim population has caused consternation among some long-term residents, who see the new residents as competitors of jobs, responsible for increased crime, and a threat to their traditions.     In the Eagle Landing High School , Muslims students—especially girls—are rarely fully integrated into the school community.   They tend to eat separately in the school cafeteria, socialize mainly among themselves, and rarely participate in school-sponsored extra-curricular events.     When the Eagle Landing School Board met in November 2010, the issue of Muslim students, and their lack of assimilation, was a hot topic of debate.   Phyllis Schafney, a member of the Board, said, “These Muslims are nothing but trouble and all should be sent back to where they came from.”   Schafney proposed a new school regulation that would prohibit students from wearing any sort of headscarf in class or at any school-sponsored event.   The ban would apply to head and neck scarves (such as the hijab, favored by many Muslim women), partial veils (niqabs) and full veils (burqas).   Schafney said that such the headscarf ban, if adopted, would send the message to Muslims “that they are no longer welcome here and should move somewhere else.”   Morris Sontag, another Board member, said that he also favored the headscarf ban, but for a different reason.   “Headscarves set the girls apart,” he said, “and are an affront to their dignity.”   If we adopt this ban, he said, the girls would be more accepted by their classmates and the school will function as it should—“without all these cliques and factions.”   A third member of the Board, Francis Hamm, denounced the proposed rule.   “This is just blatant discrimination against a religious minority!” she complained.   Schafney said the rule was just fine because it applies to anyone—including boys who just want to wear their winter scarves in class.   When debate ended, the Board voted 5 to 2 to approve the ban on headscarves.   Last month, when the headscarf ban went into effect at Eagle Landing High, seven Muslim girls were told that they must remove their headscarves or face suspension from school.   The girls refused, saying that their religion required such modesty in public places.   Principal Helmsly said he understood their position, but that “a rule is a rule” and suspended them from school indefinitely.   He told them they could only return to school once they have agreed not to wear headscarves.   The suspension of the “Headscarf Seven” prompted a number of students at Eagle Landing High to stage a protest in support of their Muslim classmates.   Several showed up wearing T-shirts that said, “End Religious Bigotry.”   The T-shirt wearing students passed out flyers in the hallways between classes that announced a boycott, scheduled for the following Tuesday, of classes to protest “religious bigotry in Eagle Landing and to support religious freedom for all students.”   When Principal Helmsly saw the flyers, he told them that urging a boycott of classes was a violation of school rules.   As punishment, Helmsly ordered the students to prepare a large sign reading “ATTEND CLASSES AND SUPPORT THE SCHOOL BOARD” and to hold the sign up on the a sidewalk leading to the school parking lot for three days from 3:00 to 4:00.   If they refused to do so, he said, they would be suspended from school for a week.   He also told the students that under school regulations “no political statements” are allowed on clothing and that when they come back tomorrow, “they should lose those controversial T-shirts.”   (A)     Does the Eagle Landing School Board regulation that bans headscarves in schools violate the First Amendment?   Discuss.   (B)      Did the decision to order the protesting students to prepare and hold a sign in punishment for distributing their flyers violate the students’ First Amendment rights?   Discuss.   (C)      Does Eagle Landing have the right to prohibit students from wearing T-shirts that address controversial issues?   Discuss.   Your answers should be contained within a single bluebook.  

 ESSAY PROBLEM 12

A diverse collection of disappointed seekers of personalized license plates have asked your opinion as to whether they have a strong First Amendment claim against the Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles.  In each case, the Department refused to issue a requested plate, citing a law that authorizes it to ban or deny plates that “are contrary to public policy.” The denied plates include “NAZIFAN”, “SHTHPNS”, “ROMANS5”, and “KILL-EM”.  The Department said the “NAZIFAN” plate could provoke a violent reaction from other drivers.  It said “SHTHPNS” was indecent.  (Your client points out that the plate could as easily be read as short for “Shout Happiness!”) It refused to issue the scriptural plate “ROMANS5” citing a policy that prohibits references to religion or a deity.  Finally, it denied the plate “KILL-EM," concluding that it promoted violence. Does the state have the power, consistent with the First Amendment, to ban the requested license plates?

[Note: In 2001, the Eighth Circuit found Missouri's refusal to issue a license plate "ARYAN-1" to be unconstitutional.  See: Lewis v Wilson (8th Cir. 2001) .]

ESSAY PROBLEM 12

     A group of Fundamentalist parents are upset with required readings in classes at a public school in Tennessee.  Specifically, they believe that certain required readings promote secular humanism and undermine the religious beliefs of their children.  They complain that Harry Potter books required in the seventh-grade favorably portray witchcraft.  They complain that a senior-high physics book suggests that the Big Bang provides a credible explanation of the origin of the universe.  Finally, they complain that biographies required in a tenth-grade history class promote feminism and the notion that women should find work outside the home.      The Fundamentalist parents wonder whether the required readings violate either the Establishment Clause or the Free Exercise Clause.  They would either like to have a court order the curriculum be changed or that their students be exempted from objectionable required reading and instruction.  What do you tell them?

 ESSAY PROBLEM 13

     Bogwon Bob is the charismatic leader of a religious cult called the "Eden's Garden Movement."  In 1997, Bogwon Bob announced that an isolated valley in southern California's Mojave Desert was "the new Garden of Eden," and urged his hundreds of followers to join him in settling in the small valley town of Jackolope.  Within a year, nearly 700 Eden's Garden Movement members had moved to Jackolope, outnumbering the resident population of about 600.      In November, 1998, Eden's Garden Movement members captured the office of mayor in Jackolope, plus three of the five town council seats.  Soon the council began adopting, always on 3 to 2 votes, a number of  ordinances proposed and supported by Bogwon Bob.      The first ordinance to be adopted by the Jackolope Town Council changed the official town seal and motto from one with a rattlesnake encircled by the  words "Don't Tread On Me" to a silouette of a couple copulating encircled by the words "Make Love, Not Enemies". The seal was designed by Bogwon Bob and reflects his free love beliefs and practices, but the motto is not one with special religious significance for the Eden's Garden Movement. An eight-foot in diameter official seal was placed on the Town Hall, directly above the main public entry to the building.      A second ordinance adopted by the Town Council declared the month of November to be "Freedom Month".  The ordinance prohibited the wearing of any clothes during the month of November in Freedom Park, the newly renamed town square.  Bogwon Bob has urged Eden's Garden Movement members to shed their clothes whenever temperatures allowed.  Bogwon Bob believes that Genesis tells us that God intended that his children be naked and feel no shame. Eden's Garden worship services, where members sip communion wine and are offered--but emphatically reject-- apples,  are conducted in the nude.  Bogwon Bob teaches that clothes are an unfortunate manifestation of our self-pride and materialistic ways.  Supporters of the Freedom Park measure also noted that nakedness breeds egalitarianism and feelings of fellowship and openness.  Wearing clothes, according to another council member, "is just plain immoral".      A third controversial decision of the Town Council was to appropriate $1000 for the purchase of books about Bogwon Bob and the Eden's Garden Movement.  The books included an autobiography by Bogwon Bob, a collection of Bogwon Bob's favorite jokes, an Eden's Garden hymnal, and "The Yellow Book," a compilation of the sacred wisdom of Bogwon Bob.  The purchased books were placed in the Town Library in the "Religion" section.  (Books that were previously in the Religion section of the Library, including the Bible, the Koran, and books about other religions, were left on the shelves.)      Needless to say, the 600 or so residents of Jackolope who are not members of the Eden's Garden Movement are up in arms over the new ordinances.  On November 15,  three Jackolope residents, finding the Freedom Park ordinance to be more than they could bear, marched, fully clothed, through the park carrying signs reading "Nudism is for Animals," "Go to Hell, Bogwon," and "Nudes are Nuts." They soon found themselves in shouting matches with Eden's Garden followers who objected to their signs and clothes. They were arrested for violating the town's ban on clothes wearing and for inciting a breach of the peace by carrying offensive signs. (A)  Discuss the constitutionality of the town seal and motto and its placement on Town Hall. (B)  Discuss the constitutional issues that might be raised by "The Jackolope Three" in an appeal of their convictions in municipal court for wearing clothes and inciting a breach of the peace. (C)  Discuss the constitutional issues raised by the Town Council's appropriation of funds for new library books.

ESSAY PROBLEM 14 (2009)

Tanya Bell is a senior at Liberty North High School .   When her application to edit the Liberty High school newspaper, The Weekly Voice , was rejected in favor of that of another student, Tanya decided to publish her own online school news blog.   She did all of the writing for what she called “ Bell ’s Liberty News” on her home computer.   The online paper became popular and was regularly read by half or more of the students at Liberty High School . Although Bell ’s Liberty News was popular with students, it was much less so with school administrators.   Several items in the online newspaper were of special concern to school officials. One was Bell ’s “Teachers Rated” feature, which allowed students to rate their high school teachers on a “1 to 5” scale.   Needless to say, teachers with especially low ratings were most concerned, and complained that they overheard students making fun of them behind their backs.   Also of concern to school administrators was Bell ’s call for a boycott of Sam Adams’ history class next Wednesday (November 22).   In her paper, Bell accused Adams of making disparaging comments in the lunchroom about the attractiveness of Liberty High’s female students.   ( Adams disputes the claim).   Finally, officials objected to an animated cartoon which Bell posted on her paper which depicted the school mascot, a gopher, apparently having simulated sex with the mascot of an arch-rival, a badger. Officials thought the cartoon video was pornographic and also worried that the video both ridiculed Liberty North’s school mascot (potentially dampening school spirit) and showed disrespect for the opposing school. On November 20, Principal Ferd Choplick summoned Tanya Bell to his office.   Choplick gave Bell a choice: either she must agree to remove certain offending features on her Liberty News website or she would be suspended from school indefinitely.   Asked what features Choplick had in mind, he specifically identified the “Teachers Rated” feature, her call for a boycott of history class, and her mascot sex video.   Bell politely refused to remove the features. Choplick told her that she shouldn’t bother coming to school the next day. The suspension of Tanya Bell soon became a big issue at Liberty North High.   On November 21, students mounted a protest on the school playground during the lunch hour.   Many students held up signs reading “No censorship!” or “We Believe in Bell .”   One teacher, Donna Redding, also appeared at the protest.   She gave a short speech urging the students to continue supporting the cause of free speech and expressing agreement with the protestors’ position on the Bell suspension.   “This is a blatant free speech violation,” Redding told the students, “and I commend you for fighting it.” The next week, Donna Redding was informed that her contract would not be renewed next year.   When she asked why, Choplick said the reason was “insubordination,” citing her appearance at the pro-Bell noon hour rally. Did the decision to suspend Tanya Bell violate her First Amendment rights?   Please discuss First Amendment issues raised by each of Bell ’s controversial expressions.    B.   Did the decision to not renew Donna Redding’s teaching contract violate her First Amendment rights?  Please discuss.

ESSAY PROBLEM 15 (2013)

Snake-handling has long been a part of religious services in certain Pentecostal churches in Appalachia and the South.  Unsurprisingly, the practice has resulted in a number of deaths of ministers and their snake-handling parishioners. The practice is inspired by a passage in the Book of Mark 15:16-17: "And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."  Handling snakes is seen by some believers as a test of the strength of one's faith in God. In 1947, the Tennessee legislature made it illegal "for a person to display, handle, or use a poisonous or dangerous snake in such a manner as to endanger the life or health of any person."  The act, which followed a rash of deaths in snake-handling churches, specifically excluded from its coverage any employee handling or using snakes in a "school or zoo."  The sponsor of the 1947 law argued, "Tennessee has a right to guard against the unnecessary creation of widows and orphans.  These churches are out of harmony with modern notions of morality." (1) PLEASE DISCUSS WHETHER PASTOR HAMBLIN'S KEEPING OF SNAKES IN THE SNAKE ROOM OF HIS CHURCH, AND HIS HANDLING OF POISONOUS SNAKES DURING RELIGIOUS SERVICES, IS PROTECTED BY THE FREE EXERCISE CLAUSE.  CAN THE 1947 TENNESSEE LAW CONSTITUTIONALLY BE APPLIED TO HAMBLIN? In protest of Pastor Hamblin's arrest on snake-handling charges, ten members of his congregation marched to the Tennessee Capitol Building in Knoxville to demand repeal of the 1947 law.  Each protestor draped a life-like, battery operated poisonous snake (some chose cottonmouths and some chose copperheads) around their neck.  As the ten protestors walked down a public sidewalk towards the Capitol with their life-like neck decorations, the toy snakes rattled, hissed, and sometimes moved their heads in the direction of passers-by, several of whom shrieked or ran to the other side of the street.  Responding to a citizen complaint, two Knoxville police officers showed up on the scene and promptly arrested the ten demonstrators, charging them with "disturbing the peace."  The protestors claim that their toy snakes posed no real danger and that they were engaged in a peaceful protest protected by the First Amendment. (2) PLEASE DISCUSS WHETHER CONVICTIONS OF THE TEN PROTESTORS FOR DISTURBING THE PEACE VIOLATE THEIR RIGHTS UNDER THE FREE SPEECH CLAUSE. Please confine your answer to these two questions to a single blue book, or a maximum of 10,000 characters if you are using ExamSoft.

SAMPLE MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS

1. What explanation did the Court give for its decision in Roberts v U. S.  Jaycees upholding the Minnesota law requiring the Jaycees to open their membership to women?

(A) The Jaycees exclusion of women violated the Equal Protection Clause. (B) The Minnesota law had a rational basis. (C) The Minnesota law served a compelling interest of ensuring the equal access of women to important economic privileges. (D) The Jaycees were a “predominantly commercial” organization and, therefore, has no freedom of association claim under the First Amendment.

2. In Schenk v. U.S . (1919), involving socialist leaflets sent to draftees during the First World War, the Court did which of the following?

(A) The Court reversed Schenk's conviction using the “clear and present danger” approach. (B) The Court reversed Schenk’s conviction under the Espionage Act applying a “direct incitement” test. (C) The Court reversed Schenk's conviction, holding that the government had no compelling interest to prohibit the leafletting. (D) The upheld Schenk’s conviction applying a weak form of the “clear and present danger” test.

3. The Court has held which of the following to be protected by the First Amendment?

(A) Racist and anti-Semitic statements made at a KKK rally. (B) Leaflets during wartime urging draftees to resist conscription orders. (C) A wartime speech by a socialist urging draft resistance. (D) Wartime leaflets from anarchists urging workers to launch a general strike.

4.  What First Amendment principles apply to government funding of private speech, as elucidated in such cases as Rust (funding of family planning), Finley (funding of art), and Legal Services Corp. (funding of representation for indigents)?

(A) When the government is using its own money to subsidize private speech, it may favor any speech--including the expression of a favored viewpoint--that it pleases. (B)  The government must be content-neutral in its decisions to fund private speech. (C)  The government may restrict speech that does not further the legitimate purpose of a spending program, but it may not use its spending power to favor particular viewpoints. (D) The government has a First Amendment right just as private individuals do, and can use its right to promote any views that it chooses.

5.  What factors are most likely to guide the Court's determination as to whether a prayer in an educational setting violates the Establishment Clause? (A)  Any prayer in a school setting is a per se violation of the Establishment Clause. (B)  Prayers that are drafted or compelled by school officials will be found to violate the Establishment Clause, but any prayers initiated by students are constitutional. (C)  Prayers will not be found to violate the Establishment Clause so long as students are not compelled to recite them. (D)  Prayers will not be found to violate the Establishment Clause so long as students are not compelled to recite them or listen to them. (E)  Prayers in the school setting will be found to violate the Establishment Clause whenever they are seen as  endorsement by the state of religion, or as direct or indirect coercion on students to participate in religious activity.

6.  What is not part of the analysis for evaluating time, place, or manner restrictions on expression? (A)    The government must demonstrate a compelling reason for its regulation. (B)    The government must show that the regulation was not a disguised attempt to suppress speech because of its message. (C)    The government must show the regulation was tailored to not unnecessarily restrict speech. (D)    The government must how that there are ample alternatives for the speaker to communicate his desired message.   7.    Which of the following statements most accurately describes the Supreme Court’s First Amendment “overbreadth” doctrine?   (A)     When a statute reaches substantially more protected speech than unprotected speech, it might be challenged even by someone engaging in otherwise unprotected speech. (B)     When a statute might be construed to be enforceable against protected speech, then it can be challenged by someone engaging in otherwise unprotected speech. (C)     When a statute applies only to unprotected speech, then it is considered “overbroad” and should be struck down. (D)     Under the Court’s new, narrower approach to overbreath, only persons shown to be engaged in protected speech activities can raise First Amendment arguments.      8.       Which of the following associations is not likely to have its “freedom of association” claim upheld?   (A)     The KKK, when is asserts its right to discriminate with respect to race in its membership policies. (B)     A private corporation, when it asserts its right to hire only Christians as employees. (C)     The Boy Scouts, when it asserts its right to exclude gay scoutmasters. (D)    The Catholic Church, when it asserts its right to refuse to ordain women as priests.

Answers: 1. (C); 2. (D); 3. (A); 4. (C); 5. (E), 6.(A); 7.(A); 8. (B).

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The first amendment, module 10: the first amendment.

The First Amendment protects some of our most cherished rights, including religious liberty, free speech, a free press, the right to assemble, and the right to petition our government for a redress of grievances. Together, these essential rights are connected to the freedom of conscience—protecting our ability to think as we will and speak as we think. As we examine the First Amendment’s text and history, we will explore debates over the First Amendment’s five freedoms, analyze landmark Supreme Court cases, and examine how the First Amendment has been used by groups of all perspectives to promote their vision of a more perfect Union.

Download all materials for this module as a PDF

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment.
  • Discuss the First Amendment’s speech-protective rule.
  • Examine contexts in which the government has some additional leeway to regulate speech.
  • Analyze the First Amendment’s religion clauses and explore how the Supreme Court has interpreted them over time.
  • Explore landmark free speech and press cases and examine famous quotes. 
  • Examine historical examples of different people and groups asserting their petition and assembly rights and reflect on the methods available to you today.

10.1 Activity: Five Freedoms

  • Student Instructions
  • Teacher Notes

Purpose In this activity, you will discuss the five freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment.

Process As a class, list the first words that come to mind when you hear the words “First Amendment.” What freedoms are enshrined in it?

Read the text of the Primary Source: First Amendment as a class and identify the five freedoms. Highlight, circle, and label the key freedoms and key information along with your classmates.

Your teacher will lead you through a discussion on the First Amendment as a group.

In small groups answer the following questions: 

  • Why do you think that these five freedoms were included in the First Amendment? Why are they important? Why might the Founding generation have valued them? Are there any principles (or broader theories) that connect the First Amendment’s five freedoms?
  • How does each freedom offer something distinct?
  • How do these freedoms overlap and/or reinforce one another?
  • What are some ways that you might exercise your First Amendment freedoms today?

Be prepared to discuss your answer as a class.

Launch Begin by asking students what they know about the First Amendment and what freedoms are in it. Next, display the First Amendment’s text or provide copies for all students to view. Read the words out loud. 

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.

As a class, have the students identify the five freedoms, circle them, and label them for the whole group. 

Guiding Question:

  • What freedoms are in the First Amendment?

Discuss examples of how someone might exercise their First Amendment rights. This does not have to be exact, and some informal examples are great, as well. Possible examples: 

  • I don’t agree with the time my school starts, and I speak up at a school board meeting. 
  • I have a different place to worship than my friends do, or I don’t go to a place of worship at all. 
  • I am going to start my own blog to discuss changes I want to see in Congress. 
  • Our courthouse does not allow skateboarders. I am going to write a letter and then protest.

Activity Synthesis In small groups, have students reflect on why the First Amendment’s five freedoms are grouped together. Highlight any comments that identify the freedom of belief, expression, or conscience. Talk about how these five freedoms give us all the right to develop our own ideas (and cultivate our own beliefs); worship (or not) freely; communicate our ideas to other people; get together with others to discuss issues, plan activities, and engage in expressive acts like protests and parades; and petition the government. Throughout American history, many of these First Amendment rights have often been important to unpopular groups, those representing minority groups with little political power or voice from all perspectives.

Guiding Questions:

Activity Extension (optional) Now that students have a better understanding of the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment, ask them what would happen if these freedoms were not protected by the Constitution? What are some of the dangers?

10.1 Primary Source: First Amendment

This activity is part of Module 10: The First Amendment from the Constitution 101 Curriculum

10.2 Video Activity: Big Ideas Behind the First Amendment

Purpose In this activity, you will learn more about the big ideas behind the First Amendment.

Process Watch the following video about the First Amendment.

Then, complete the Video Reflection: The First Amendment worksheet.

Identify any areas that are unclear to you or where you would like further explanation. Be prepared to discuss your answers in a group and to ask your teacher any remaining questions.

Launch Have students watch the video, answer the questions, and complete the Video Reflection: The First Amendment worksheet.  The goal is to make sure the students understand these four key principles of the First Amendment:

  • Freedom of conscience is an unalienable right because people have the right and duty to think for themselves.
  • Free speech makes representatives accountable to “We the People.”
  • Free speech is necessary for the discovery of truth and the rejection of falsehood.
  • Free speech allows the public discussion necessary for democratic self-government.

Activity Synthesis Engage in a classroom discussion on how free speech and religion, assembly and petition are all connected to the overarching idea of the Freedom of Conscience. Why is it so important for us to exercise our freedom to think? How are we as members of this democracy engaging in this practice in our lives? How do we stretch our perspectives by exposing ourselves to others' ideas and other viewpoints?

Activity Extension (optional) Now that students have a better understanding of the freedom of conscience, ask the students to examine your own school or community. How much diversity of thought is in your after school clubs, community centers, or even in the choices of books in your local library. Write a short review of our community’s freedom of conscience. 

10.2 Video Reflection: The First Amendment

10.3 activity: religion clauses.

Purpose The First Amendment has two clauses related to religion: one preventing the government establishment of religion (the Establishment Clause) and the other protecting the ability to freely exercise religious beliefs (the Free Exercise Clause). In this activity, you will review these clauses, why they were included in the Bill of Rights, the issues they address, and how the Supreme Court has interpreted them over time. 

Process Read your assigned interpretations:

  • Text of the Constitution
  • Common Interpretation: The Establishment Clause
  • Common Interpretation: Free Exercise Clause

Complete the Activity Guide: Religion Clause s worksheet. Your teacher will lead you in a group, explain your assigned clause, and build a deeper understanding of both clauses and how they work together or in conflict with one another. 

Finally, as a class read Info Brief: Kennedy v. Bremerton School District Case then join in a group discussion on modern cases today and constitutional hypotheticals . 

Launch Divide the class into small groups of 3-4 and assign half the groups to read the Establishment Clause Common Interpretation Essay and the other half of the groups will read the Free Exercise Clause Common Interpretation Essay. Students will work in groups to complete the worksheet and prepare to share a summary.

Activity Synthesis Jigsaw the groups, have them share their summaries and collectively identify the big idea behind each clause, then discuss as a class. Questions include:

  • How do the big ideas found in the essays connect or compare to one or all of the four big ideas from the video?
  • How are these two clauses in the Constitution at odds? Can you give examples?
  • What modern cases have come to light that are testing one or both of these clauses?

Large Group Discussion: Hypos This is a great class to engage in hypotheticals and a civil dialogue. After students complete the sections up to this part, engage in a large class discussion on the following constitutional question presented in the Kennedy case.  Assign students to read about Kennedy v. Bremerton School District. Then lead a discussion with the following hypothetical questions. This is a great opportunity to explore discussion methods that allow for student voice and agency with techniques like the Fishbowl method or the Harkness method. See the Civil Dialogue Toolkit for more tools to build this skill. 

Kennedy Case Scenario(s) :  

  • Under this ruling, can a teacher give a brief, silent prayer before eating a snack at the front of the classroom? 
  • What if the teacher prays aloud?
  • What if the students are not in the classroom?
  • What if a group of students stopped back in the classroom during recess?
  • What if the teacher invites students to join the teacher in prayer on a voluntary basis?
  • What if students join the teacher voluntarily without the teacher asking them? Can they join the teacher? Does the teacher have a constitutional obligation to tell them not to join?
  • What if the teacher prays in the teachers lounge?
  • Does the age of the students and/or audience affect how you consider these hypotheticals? 

Activity Extension (optional) Now that students have a better understanding of the religion clauses of the First Amendment, answer the following questions: 

  • Why did the Founding generation include the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause in the Bill of Rights? 
  • How have the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause shaped the role of religion in our government and society over time? 

10.3 Info Brief: Kennedy v. Bremerton School District Case

10.3 activity guide: religion clauses, 10.4 activity: speech quotation analysis.

Purpose In this activity, you will examine free speech quotes from landmark Supreme Court cases and compare them to the big ideas shared in the video. 

Process For background on the legal framework for analyzing First Amendment Speech and Press Clauses, read the following interpretation:

First Amendment: Speech Clause and the Press Clause

  • Common Interpretation

Analyze the First Amendment Quotes provided to you and explore longer excerpts in the Founders’ Library to better understand the context for them and the development of free speech and a free press in America.  

In your group, complete the following tasks on the Activity Guide: Speech Quotation Analysis worksheet.

  • Define any words that you do not understand.
  • Summarize each quotation and write one to two sentences explaining it in your own words.
  • Explain how the quote connects to the broader conclusion that the Supreme Court reached in the case.

Think about the big ideas from the First Amendment instructional video. Draw any connections to the four First Amendment principles highlighted in the video. Explain the connections.

As a reminder, here are the four big ideas:

Be prepared to share key point(s) and draw connections to what you explored in the videos and primary sources. 

Launch Divide the class into groups prior to class and have them complete the readings.

Students will analyze the quotations supplied and explore longer excerpts in the Founders’ Library to better understand it in the context of free speech over time in America. Teachers can project the quote on the board for all to view and/or provide students with a copy of the First Amendment Quotes handout. Using the provided Activity Guide: Speech Quotation Analysis worksheet, students will share key points of the longer excerpts with their classmates and draw connections to what they explored in the videos and primary sources from each group that were examined.   

  • Schenck v. United States (1919)
  • Abrams v. United States (1919)
  • West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette (1943)
  • New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964)
  • Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969)
  • Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969)
  • New York Times Co. v. United States (1971) (The Pentagon Papers Case)
  • Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988)
  • Texas v. Johnson (1989)

Activity Synthesis The Founding generation believed that

“freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; that without free speech and assembly discussion would be futile; that with them, discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine; that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty; and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government.”

Justice Brandeis, Whitney v. California

Ask students the following questions:

  • Why does the First Amendment protect free speech and a free press?
  • How does free speech ensure democratic self-governance?
  • How does this quote relate to Justice Holmes’s account of a “marketplace of ideas” and its importance to free speech?
  • Are you persuaded by Brandeis and Holmes? What are the strengths of their visions? What are the weaknesses?
  • Does free speech promote tolerance? Why or why not?
  • How does social media influence your assessment of the First Amendment visions of Holmes and Brandeis?

Activity Extension (optional) Now that students have a better understanding of the First Amendment’s protections for free speech and a free press, ask the following question:

  • When does the government have greater leeway to regulate speech? Hint: Check out the Common Interpretation essay on Freedom of Speech and Press .

10.4 Activity Guide: Speech Quotation Analysis

10.4 first amendment quotes, 10.5 activity: assembly and petition.

Purpose But wait, there is more in the First Amendment! The First Amendment also protects the right to assemble and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. These are two distinct rights. First, the right to assemble protects our right to gather together with others in groups—whether as part of a political meeting, religious gathering, street protest, or parade. And second, the right to petition goes to our right to join together with others to share our collective views with the government—often by highlighting problems and suggesting ways of fixing them. 

Process Examine the primary source assigned to you and your partner, and complete the Activity Guide: Assembly and Petition worksheet. 

Review your responses with a classmate who examined the same primary source and be prepared to share with your class the connection to assembly and petition.

Launch Break students into pairs and assign each team a primary source. Have each student examine the primary source and then discuss with their partner and complete the worksheet.  Information Sheet With All Excerpts:

  • Petition from the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery to the First Congress (1790).
  • The Gag Rules Debate (1835-1840).
  • Seneca Falls Declaration (1848).
  • Proceedings of the State Convention of Colored People, Held at Albany, New York (1851).
  • Frederick Douglass, Plea for Freedom of Speech in Boston (1860).

Activity Synthesis Once each team has completed the worksheet, have them share with the larger group some key concepts from the reading.

  • Identify the author(s) and year.
  • Answer how the author(s) use assembly or petition rights to promote change.
  • Describe the types of changes the author(s) advocate.
  • Cite 1-2 quotes as evidence for the argument. Why did you pick these two?

Note for the class when there are similarities between groups that had the same primary source and differences. 

Ask students if they can find any connections between these sources and a modern day debate in our country.   Activity Extension (optional) Now that students have a better understanding of assembly and petition, ask students to explore news articles or segments in media that present the Assembly Clause in action. Is it presented as negative or positive? What was the group and what was their main message? What part of the government were they appealing to? 

10.5 Activity Guide: Assembly and Petition

10.5 primary source: frederick douglass, plea for freedom of speech in boston (1860), 10.5 primary source: petition from the pennsylvania society for the abolition of slavery to the first congress (1790), 10.5 primary source: proceedings of the state convention of colored people, held at albany, new york (1851), 10.5 primary source: seneca falls declaration (1848), 10.5 primary source: the gag rules debate (1835-1840), 10.6 activity: exit ticket reflection.

Process To complete this module, write a short paragraph about free speech as it relates to social media and be prepared to share it in class.

Remember the rule from Brandenburg v. Ohio : Generally speaking, the government may punish if it is intended to and likely to cause imminent lawless action. In this activity, you will reflect on whether such a speech-protective rule works in the age of social media.

Read this article from The Atlantic by Jeffrey Rosen: Elon Musk Is Right That Twitter Should Follow the First Amendment .

Write a short paragraph in response to the following question: Do you think that social media companies should follow the same guidelines of the First Amendment as the government does? As a reminder, social media companies do not have to follow standard First Amendment rules because the First Amendment only applies to the government, not to private companies, which can create their own guidelines or policies with respect to how their platform is used and how their business is run. List three pros and three cons as part of your short paragraph response.

10.7 Test Your Knowledge

Congratulations for completing the activities in this module! Now it’s time to apply what you have learned about the basic ideas and concepts covered.

Complete the questions to test your knowledge.

This activity will help students determine their overall understanding of module concepts. It is recommended that questions are completed electronically so immediate feedback is provided, but a downloadable copy of the questions (with answer key) is also available.

10.7 Interactive Knowledge Check: First Amendment: Speech, Press, Religion, Assembly, and Petition

10.7 printable knowledge check: first amendment: speech, press, religion, assembly, and petition, previous module, module 9: the judicial system and current cases, next module, module 11: the fourth amendment.

The Fourth Amendment protects us from unreasonable search and seizures of our person, our house, our papers, and our effects. In many cases, this amendment governs our interactions with the police. Before the government—including police officers—can search your home or seize your property, it needs a good reason. This is the big idea behind the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement. The government needs particularized suspicion—a reason that’s specific to each suspect—before it can get a warrant. Broadly speaking, our Constitution says that the police s...

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Essay Topics on First Amendment

first amendment essay prompts

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First Amendment

By: History.com Editors

Updated: July 27, 2023 | Original: December 4, 2017

HISTORY: First Amendment of the US Constitution

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the freedom of speech, religion and the press. It also protects the right to peaceful protest and to petition the government. The amendment was adopted in 1791 along with nine other amendments that make up the Bill of Rights—a written document protecting civil liberties under U.S. law. The meaning of the First Amendment has been the subject of continuing interpretation and dispute over the years. Landmark Supreme Court cases have dealt with the right of citizens to protest U.S. involvement in foreign wars, flag burning and the publication of classified government documents.

Bill of Rights

During the summer of 1787, a group of politicians, including James Madison and Alexander Hamilton , gathered in Philadelphia to draft a new U.S. Constitution .

Antifederalists, led by the first governor of Virginia , Patrick Henry , opposed the ratification of the Constitution. They felt the new constitution gave the federal government too much power at the expense of the states. They further argued that the Constitution lacked protections for people’s individual rights.

The debate over whether to ratify the Constitution in several states hinged on the adoption of a Bill of Rights that would safeguard basic civil rights under the law. Fearing defeat, pro-constitution politicians, called Federalists , promised a concession to the antifederalists—a Bill of Rights.

James Madison drafted most of the Bill of Rights. Madison was a Virginia representative who would later become the fourth president of the United States. He created the Bill of Rights during the 1st United States Congress, which met from 1789 to 1791 – the first two years that President George Washington was in office.

The Bill of Rights, which was introduced to Congress in 1789 and adopted on December 15, 1791, includes the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

First Amendment Text

The First Amendment text 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.”

While the First Amendment protected freedoms of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition, subsequent amendments under the Bill of Rights dealt with the protection of other American values including the Second Amendment right to bear arms and the Sixth Amendment right to a trial by jury.

Freedom of Speech

The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech . Freedom of speech gives Americans the right to express themselves without having to worry about government interference. It’s the most basic component of freedom of expression.

The U.S. Supreme Court often has struggled to determine what types of speech is protected. Legally, material labeled as obscene has historically been excluded from First Amendment protection, for example, but deciding what qualifies as obscene has been problematic. Speech provoking actions that would harm others—true incitement and/or threats—is also not protected, but again determining what words have qualified as true incitement has been decided on a case-by-case basis.

Freedom of the Press

This freedom is similar to freedom of speech, in that it allows people to express themselves through publication.

There are certain limits to freedom of the press . False or defamatory statements—called libel—aren’t protected under the First Amendment.

Freedom of Religion

The First Amendment, in guaranteeing freedom of religion , prohibits the government from establishing a “state” religion and from favoring one religion over any other.

While not explicitly stated, this amendment establishes the long-established separation of church and state.

Right to Assemble, Right to Petition

The First Amendment protects the freedom to peacefully assemble or gather together or associate with a group of people for social, economic, political or religious purposes. It also protects the right to protest the government.

The right to petition can mean signing a petition or even filing a lawsuit against the government.

First Amendment Court Cases

Here are landmark Supreme Court decisions related to the First Amendment.

Free Speech &  Freedom of the Press :

Schenck v. United States , 1919: In this case, the Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Socialist Party activist Charles Schenck after he distributed fliers urging young men to dodge the draft during World War I .

The Schenck decision helped define limits of freedom of speech, creating the “clear and present danger” standard, explaining when the government is allowed to limit free speech. In this case, the Supreme Court viewed draft resistance as dangerous to national security.

New York Times Co. v. United States , 1971: This landmark Supreme Court case made it possible for The New York Times and Washington Post newspapers to publish the contents of the Pentagon Papers without risk of government censorship.

The Pentagon Papers were a top-secret Department of Defense study of U.S. political and military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. Published portions of the Pentagon Papers revealed that the presidential administrations of Harry Truman , Dwight D. Eisenhower , John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson had all misled the public about the degree of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Texas v. Johnson , 1990: Gregory Lee Johnson, a youth communist, burned a flag during the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas to protest the administration of President Ronald Reagan .

The Supreme Court reversed a Texas court’s decision that Johnson broke the law by desecrating the flag. This Supreme Court Case invalidated statutes in Texas and 47 other states prohibiting flag-burning.

Freedom of Religion:

Reynolds v. United States (1878): This Supreme Court case upheld a federal law banning polygamy, testing the limits of religious liberty in America. The Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment forbids government from regulating belief but not from actions such as marriage.

Braunfeld v. Brown (1961): The Supreme Court upheld a Pennsylvania law requiring stores to close on Sundays, even though Orthodox Jews argued the law was unfair to them since their religion required them to close their stores on Saturdays as well.

Sherbert v. Verner (1963): The Supreme Court ruled that states could not require a person to abandon their religious beliefs in order to receive benefits. In this case, Adell Sherbert, a Seventh-day Adventist, worked in a textile mill. When her employer switched from a five-day to six-day workweek, she was fired for refusing to work on Saturdays. When she applied for unemployment compensation, a South Carolina court denied her claim.

Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971): This Supreme Court decision struck down a Pennsylvania law allowing the state to reimburse Catholic schools for the salaries of teachers who taught in those schools. This Supreme Court case established the “Lemon Test” for determining when a state or federal law violates the Establishment Clause—that’s the part of the First Amendment that prohibits the government from declaring or financially supporting a state religion.

Ten Commandments Cases (2005): In 2005, the Supreme Court came to seemingly contradictory decisions in two cases involving the display of the Ten Commandments on public property. In the first case, Van Orden v. Perry , the Supreme Court ruled that the display of a six-foot Ten Commandments monument at the Texas State Capital was constitutional. In McCreary County v. ACLU , the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that two large, framed copies of the Ten Commandments in Kentucky courthouses violated the First Amendment.

Right to Assemble & Right to Petition:

NAACP v. Alabama (1958): When Alabama Circuit Court ordered the NAACP to stop doing business in the state and subpoenaed the NAACP for records including their membership list, the NAACP brought the matter to the Supreme Court. The Court ruled in favor of the NAACP, which Justice John Marshall Harlan II writing: “This Court has recognized the vital relationship between freedom to associate and privacy in one's associations.”

Edwards v. South Carolina (1962): On March 2, 1961, 187 Black students marched from Zion Baptist Church to the South Carolina State House, where they were arrested and convicted of breaching the peace. The Supreme Court ruled in an 8-1 decision to reverse the convictions, arguing that the state infringed on the free speech, free assembly and freedom to petition of the students.

The Bill of Rights; White House . History of the First Amendment; The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Schenck v. United States ; C-Span .

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Table of contents, first amendment overview essays.

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The essays included in this collection give overviews of some of the most important areas of First Amendment law and scholarship. FIRE hopes that these essays explain the basics of First Amendment case law and jargon in a succinct, yet informative manner. This collection will expand on a regular basis, so please check back for more content.

Chilling Effect

The "chilling effect" refers to a phenomenon where individuals or groups refrain from engaging in expression for fear of running afoul of a law or regulation. Chilling effects generally occur when a law is either too broad or too vague. Individuals steer far clear from the reaches of the law for fear of retaliation, prosecution, or punitive governmental action. Read more about the chilling effect .

COVID-19 Emergency Measures and the First Amendment

The pandemic caused by the pervasive spread of the virus known as COVID-19 has placed significant pressure on government officials to act quickly to try to save lives and slow the spread of the virus. Many officials have responded with significant restrictions in the form of emergency stay-at-home orders, executive orders closing all but “essential” businesses, and bans on public gatherings — often of groups of more than 10 people. . . No matter one’s political beliefs, this time has also placed significant strains on First Amendment freedoms. Read more about COVID-19 emergency measures and the First Amendment .

Defamation refers to false statements of fact that harm another’s reputation. It encompasses both libel and slander. Libel generally refers to written defamation, while slander refers to oral defamation. Read more about defamation .

Fighting Words

The First Amendment may protect profanity directed against another. Then again, such intemperate speech may fall into a narrow, traditionally unprotected category of expression known as “fighting words.” Read more about fighting words .

Freedom of the Press

Collectively, this bundle of rights, largely developed by U.S. Supreme Court decisions, defines the “freedom of the press” guaranteed by the First Amendment. What we mean by the freedom of the press is, in fact, an evolving concept. It is a concept that is informed by the perceptions of those who crafted the press clause in an era of pamphlets, political tracts and periodical newspapers, and by the views of Supreme Court justices who have interpreted that clause over the past two centuries in a world of daily newspapers, books, magazines, motion pictures, radio and television broadcasts, and internet content. Read more about freedom of the press .

K–12 Expression and the First Amendment

Public school students “do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” Tinker v. Des Moines (1969). Such rights must, however, be considered in the context of “the special characteristics of the school environment.” This means that while public school students possess free speech rights at school, school officials can regulate speech more as educators than governments can as sovereign. Read more about K–12 expression and the First Amendment .

Nude Dancing

The First Amendment protects much more than the spoken or printed word. It also protects various forms of symbolic speech and expressive conduct. The Supreme Court has ruled that the display of a red flag, the wearing of a black armband, the burning of the American flag and yes, even nude performance dancing are forms of expression that when restricted, require First Amendment review. Read more about nude dancing and the First Amendment.

Overbreadth

Overbreadth is a supremely important concept in First Amendment law and a key tool for constitutional litigators. A law is too broad—or overbroad—when it not only covers speech that ought to be proscribed but also penalizes speech that should be safeguarded. Read more about overbreadth . 

Secondary Effects Doctrine

The secondary effects doctrine allows government officials to treat patently content-based laws as content-neutral. The animating logic is that government officials are not suppressing speech because of its content but because of adverse side effects associated with the speech, such as increased crime or decreased property values. Read more about the secondary effects doctrine . 

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First Amendment

The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices . It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely. It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government .

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Amendment i.

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.

Wex Resources

The establishment clause.

Establishment Clause

Lee v. Weisman (1992)

Van Orden v. Perry (2005 )

Free Exercise Clause

State Action Requirement

Free Speech

Captive Audience

Prior Restraint

Absolute Privilege

Advocacy of Illegal Action

Fighting Words

Commercial Speech

Government Speech

Brandenburg Test

Schenk v. United States (1919)

Gitlow v. New York (1925)

Roth v. United States (1957)

Texas v. Johnson (1989)

Near v. Minnesota (1931)

New York Times v. Sullivan (1964)

Peaceful Assembly

Unlawful Assembly

Redress of Grievances

Teacher's Notepad

42 Writing Prompts About The Constitution

Although it was written in the 18th century, the U.S. Constitution is the principle by which our country lives.

This means that it is very important for students to read, learn about, and understand the Constitution and how it affects their lives—even in ways that they’d never realized.

As you study American History and the Constitution, it is important to give students a chance to write about and reflect on what they’ve learned so they can really understand the material.

Below, you’ll find a list of writing prompts—which can be changed depending on grade level—to help students think more deeply about the Constitution and what they’ve learned.

How to use these prompts:

Use this writing guide in tandem with your curriculum about American History and the U.S. Constitution. Here are some ways you can use this list of prompts in your classroom:

  • Divide your classroom into groups and have each group work on a certain number of prompts.
  • Challenge your students to write using one prompt in their journal each day for a week.
  • Use these prompts to help students gain a further understanding if they seem to be struggling with the topic.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Writing Prompts

  • Who are some prominent people who were at the creation of the Constitution?
  • Why is the Constitution important?
  • What is the Bill of Rights?
  • Why is the Bill of Rights so important today?
  • Make a list of 5 things that are considered a right.
  • Make a list of 5 things that are not considered a right.
  • Copy the preamble to the Constitution in your best handwriting.
  • Pretend to be a reporter and write an article about the creation of the Constitution.
  • How does the system of checks and balances work?
  • What is the role of the legislative branch of the government?
  • What is the role of the executive branch of the government?
  • What is the role of the judicial branch of the government?
  • What is an amendment?
  • Why was it important to create amendments to the Constitution?
  • Paparazzi are protected by freedom of the press. Do you think they overuse this right in order to get the best pictures and stories, or are they within their rights to do what they want?
  • If you could write an amendment to the Constitution today, what would it be?
  • Write your own Bill of Rights for your classroom.
  • How did the Constitution create a division in the U.S.?
  • Why did the U.S. abandon the Articles of Confederation in exchange for the Constitution?
  • Do you think the Constitution applies to today, or should it be changed because times have changed?
  • Which amendment in the Bill of Rights do you think is the most important? Why?
  • Do you agree that all U.S. citizens should read and understand the Constitution? Explain your answer.
  • How did the Revolutionary War influence the Constitution?
  • Do you think the Constitution could be changed in the future?
  • Write 2-5 paragraphs discussing what you know about the creation of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Are students able to influence a change in school rules and policies? Explain with examples.
  • Have you ever signed a petition for change? Explain?
  • What does it mean to be accountable to the law?
  • What happens when groups of people stop abiding by the law?
  • Give an example of someone following a law even when it’s inconvenient for them to do so.
  • Give at least five examples of how the rule of law affects your daily life.
  • How does the Constitution guarantee that citizens are to be treated fairly by the government?
  • Summarize the Preamble of the Constitution.
  • What does the first amendment of the Bill of Rights guarantee? Give a few examples throughout U.S. history where this right proved to be important.
  • Compare and contrast two amendments in the Bill of Rights.
  • Why do you think Congress is so unpopular among the American people?
  • Why do states have their own constitutions? Do they vary by state?
  • Which U.S. state’s name is spelled wrong in the Constitution? How do you think this happened?
  • Does the Constitution mention women’s rights? Explain your answer.
  • Is slavery mentioned in the Constitution? Explain your answer.
  • Compare and contrast the U.S. Constitution with state constitutions.
  • What are the seven main purposes of the U.S. Constitution? Do you think any one is more important than the others? Explain.

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First Amendment Essays

First amendment freedoms.

There are many important freedoms that are protected by the first amendment but in this essay were going to discuss my opinions on what are the 5 most important ones and why i think that. In my opinion i feel as though the most important freedoms are; freedom of speech, search and seizure, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and the freedom of assembly/ petition. These are the ones that affect people the most. The ones that are used […]

First Amendment Rights and Access to Opinions

In 1972, five burglars were arrested following the break-in of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington D.C. Uncovered, was a plan concocted by members of the official organization of President Nixon’s campaign to photograph campaign documents and install listening devices in telephones. Taped recordings of President Nixon’s conversations revealed the President had clearly obstructed justice by directing members of the CIA to halt the FBI investigation into the DNC break-in. Facing certain impeachment […]

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The First Amendment and Internet

According to the Constitution, the First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech (Volokh). This amendment allows citizens to freely express their ideas through written/spoken words and media such as pictures and films. However, at the same time, they are exposed to a wide range of public opinions and views that may come into conflict with their own personal beliefs and cause discomfort. With media becoming more accessible and public, more facts, opinions, and […]

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the USA

The first amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows, 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. (U.S. Constitution) Why does freedom of speech matter? Freedom of speech is what protects people from expressing what matters to them. Most […]

The First Amendment and Equal Protecting

The first amendment states that Congress shall make no “law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (Lemon v. Kurtzman). This section of the first amendment refers to the establishment clause and free exercise clause and in other words this prevented the government from investing any of its resources to a particular belief system, or prevent anyone from practicing their own belief system, creating a separation of church and state. When it comes to education states […]

The First Amendment how Important is It?

Have you ever wondered what life would be like without amendments, will it impact our lives not being able to own a gun, practice our own religion, or having our own leader abuse his power? According to the bill of rights, the First Amendment protects our right to freedom of, religion, assembly, press, petition, and speech. In other countries such as North Korea, China, and Iran; citizens do not have freedom of religion, press, and freedom guaranteed to them. Therefore, […]

The First Amendment of Freedom of Speech

For this essay I have picked symbolic speech and a seditious speech. All of these speeches come under the First Amendment of freedom of speech. This is controversial and generates lot of arguments sometimes on a national level. So, what is freedom of speech in reality? It states that the United States Constitution prevents Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech, the freedom of the […]

Citizenship: the First Amendment Right

Starting from the time of the passing of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, Americans gained liberties. These include freedom of speech, religion, press, petition, and assembly. With this came the questions of who is an American and who is deserving of the full rights of citizenship? The conception of who is has changed over time, including three major times periods from 1865 to 1900, 1900 to 1950, and from 1950 to the present. The time after the […]

About the First Amendment Cases

The First Amendment was created in 1791, which later added twenty seven more into present day that make up the Bill of Rights. Within 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. (history.com, 2017) This Amendment gives the right of the people to peacefully assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances as well. In the United States Supreme Court, there […]

Comparing our First Amendment Rights to the Rights of those in George Orwell’s “1984”

In George Orwell’s book 1984 he talks about the “Obliteration of Self” in Oceania’s Society. We as Americans have the first amendment which entitles us to the freedom of speech, religion, press, petition and assembly. These five freedoms give American citizens the option to embrace their individuality. The freedom of speech is the most important of the first amendment. People are able to say almost anything they think about the government, people etc., to some extent. If we were living […]

Government Regulation of First Amendment

The US Constitution was drafted to ensure the rights of the American people. Every amendment and article that has been added to the Constitution for that purpose of ensuring the protection of every right of American citizens. Since the Constitution was established, there have been many court cases that challenged American citizens’ rights. Some of these cases have set precedents for future cases such as Marbury v. Madison (1803), Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), and Miranda v. Arizona (1966). The Declaration […]

Anti-Semitism and the First Amendment

Thesis statement: Any form of anti-Semitic hate speech in the United States should not be given First Amendment protection as it has proven to cause violence. Introduction: The American Library Association defines free speech in the United States and mentions that it is founded in a belief that freedom of speech requires the government to strictly protect robust debate on matters of public concern even when such debate devolves into distasteful, offensive, or hateful speech that causes others to feel […]

The Policy of the First Amendment

The first amendment conducts to citizens, while many believe that it guarantees them a limit of freedom. We get stuck in an unlawful situations, which forces us to know what our rights are. This is a hotly debated topic that often divides opinions. The first amendment is often discussed yet rarely understood. These rights includes everyone, but some just take advantage over it. It goes without saying this law is one of the most important issues facing us today. The […]

Flag Burning and the First Amendment

Flag Burning and the First Amendment Megan M. Kalbfleisch Grantham University Flag Burning and the First Amendment One golden rule of the First Amendment would be that the United States government cannot ban free expression of any idea. It doesn’t matter how much the majority disagrees with that idea or finds it offensive. Which is why American flag burning is protected under the First Amendment, it’s an expression of an idea. Texas v. Johnson. In 1989 a landmark case involving […]

The Significance of the First Amendment

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the freedoms of religion, speech, press, petition, and assembly.1 Most Americans agree that these freedoms are important, but every American should also consider why this amendment is important and whom this amendment protects. For instance, does freedom of religion protect individuals, religious groups, or non-religious people, and why is it important that people can freely worship? For that matter, does this part of the Constitution prohibit the government from ever interacting with […]

The Origins of the First Amendment

At the constitutional convention that took place in Philadelphia in 1787 James Madison and many other delegates met with the intention of rethinking the Articles of the confederation. The first well-known amendment of the constitution, 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 […]

Banned Books and the Law the First Amendment

Should books be banned? Some people think books should be banned. I on the other hand think books should not be banned. I will express my reasoning for why I think books should be unbanned. I think banning books is bad because books are another way to get educated, books are an example of the First Amendment, and books are being censored for being challenging and inappropriate. Reading books is another way to get educated It says in 10 benefits of […]

Introduction for Essay on First Amendment

Deep dive into the first amendment | thesis statement for first amendment essay, conclusion: summary of the amendment process and its importance in u.s. history.

The authority to amend the Constitution of the United States is derived from Article V of the Constitution. After Congress proposes an amendment, the Archivist of the United States, who heads the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), is charged with responsibility for administering the ratification process under the provisions of 1 U.S.C. 106b. The Archivist has delegated many of the ministerial duties associated with this function to the Director of the Federal Register. Neither Article V of the Constitution nor Section 106b describes the ratification process in detail. The Archivist and the Director of the Federal Register follow procedures and customs established by the Secretary of State, who performed these duties until 1950, and the Administrator of General Services, who served in this capacity until NARA assumed responsibility as an independent agency in 1985.

The Process of Amendment Proposal | Research Paper on First Amendment Essay

The Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either by Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. None of the 27 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed by constitutional convention. The Congress proposes an amendment in the form of a joint resolution. Since the President does not have a constitutional role in the amendment process, the joint resolution does not go to the White House for signature or approval. The original document is forwarded directly to NARA’s Office of the Federal Register (OFR) for processing and publication. The OFR adds legislative history notes to the joint resolution and publishes it in slip law format. The OFR also assembles an information package for the States which includes formal ‘red-line’ copies of the joint resolution, copies of the joint resolution in slip law format, and the statutory procedure for ratification under 1 U.S.C. 106b.

The Archivist submits the proposed amendment to the States for their consideration by sending a letter of notification to each Governor along with the informational material prepared by the OFR. The Governors then formally submit the amendment to their State legislatures, or the state calls for a convention, depending on what Congress has specified. In the past, some State legislatures have not waited to receive official notice before taking action on a proposed amendment. When a State ratifies a proposed amendment, it sends the Archivist an original or certified copy of the State action, which is immediately conveyed to the Director of the Federal Register. The OFR examines ratification documents for facial legal sufficiency and an authenticating signature. If the documents are found to be in good order, the Director acknowledges receipt and maintains custody of them. The OFR retains these documents until an amendment is adopted or fails and then transfers the records to the National

Archives for preservation

A proposed amendment becomes part of the Constitution as soon as it is ratified by three-fourths of the States (38 of 50 States). When the OFR verifies that it has received the required number of authenticated ratification documents, it drafts a formal proclamation for the Archivist to certify that the amendment is valid and has become part of the Constitution. This certification is published in the Federal Register and U.S. Statutes at Large and serves as official notice to Congress and to the Nation that the amendment process has been completed.

In a few instances, States have sent official documents to NARA to record the rejection of an amendment or the rescission of prior ratification. The Archivist does not make any substantive determinations as to the validity of State ratification actions, but it has been established that the Archivist’s certification of the facial legal sufficiency of ratification documents is final and conclusive.

Ceremonial Signing of the Certification

In recent history, the signing of the certification has become a ceremonial function attended by various dignitaries, which may include the President. President Johnson signed the certifications for the 24th and 25th Amendments as a witness, and President Nixon similarly witnessed the certification of the 26th Amendment along with three young scholars. On May 18, 1992, the Archivist performed the duties of the certifying official for the first time to recognize the ratification of the 27th Amendment, and the Director of the Federal Register signed the certification as a witness.

The first amendment is one of twenty-seven amendments. There are a few more popular amendments than others. For instance, the second amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right to keep and bear arms. However, this amendment is probably one of the most controversial amendments because a lot of people think we should get rid of guns because they lead to violence. Another interesting amendment is the first amendment. The first amendment prevents the government from creating laws that would regulate any establishment of religion or any act that would threaten the free speech of religion. The first amendment commands that the government has no interest in religious activity. Thomas Jefferson once said, “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise. Thus building a wall of separation between church and state”. The first amendment has three main sections: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press.

The Role of the Supreme Court in Shaping First Amendment Rights

Freedom of speech means the free and public expression of opinions without censorship, interference, and restraint by the government. The term ‘freedom of speech’ that is in the First Amendment encompasses the decision of what to say as well as what not to say. The supreme court during the Chicago police dept. V. Moseley case said, “ But, above all else, the First Amendment means that the government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content. To permit the continued building of our politics and culture and to assure self-fulfillment for each individual, our people are guaranteed the right to express any thought, free from government censorship. The essence of this forbidden censorship is content control. Any restriction on expressive activity because of its content would completely undercut the ‘profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.”

Freedom of religion Religious liberty, also known as freedom of religion, is ‘the right of all persons to believe, speak, and act – individually and in community with others. The reason freedom of religion is one of the first subjects addressed in the amendments is because of the founding fathers. Their understanding of the importance of religion to human, social, and political flourishing made them think that they should protect religion first, just in case. Justice William O. Douglas once said, “ The First Amendment commands government to have no interest in theology or ritual; it admonishes government to be interested in allowing religious freedom to flourish—whether the result is to produce Catholics, Jews, or Protestants, or to turn the people toward the path of Buddha, or to end in a predominantly Moslem nation, or to produce in the long run atheists or agnostics. On matters of this kind, the government must be neutral.

Freedom of the press means the right of individuals to express themselves through the publication and dissemination of information, ideas, and opinions without interference, constraint, or prosecution by the government. However, freedom of the press does not mean we can just say anything. Chief Justice Warren E. Burger said: ‘Numerous holdings of this Court attest to the fact that the First Amendment does not literally mean that we ‘are guaranteed the right to express any thought, free from government censorship.’

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Essays on First Amendment

Your First Amendment essay gives you a chance to explore how people’s rights were implemented. After the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the founding fathers of the United States set out to create a Constitution, but the document turned out to be flawed: it did not uphold personal rights. Most First Amendment essays follow the process of legal enforcement of human rights in detail. In 1791, ten amendments were released and called The Bill of Rights, which became an official part of the Constitution on December 15 that year. Our samples of essays on First Amendment showcase what rights were enforced in the First Amendment. The first amendment declared that people can not be denied free religion, assembly, speech, press, as well as the right to petition the US government. Review the best First Amendment essay samples below to improve your essay.

The Constitution of the United States of America came into force in 1789. At 229 years old, it is arguably the oldest Constitution still in use in the world today. Despite being the supreme law of the land, the sovereign power remains vested in the people of the United States...

Words: 1745

Free Speech and Hate Speech Free speech is considered as the freedom of communication for the people. It includes the liberty of the press and the people to say what they want/like and liberty for the people to assemble like protesting peacefully. Also, freedom of speech gives people the opportunity to...

The Principle of Separation Between Church and State The US First Amendment prohibits Congress from passing laws that support an establishment of a specific religion, which is where the idea of a separation between church and state originated. (Van and Kurt 58). The federal government is required to uphold a position...

The Evolution of the Right to Free Speech The first amendment of the US constitution includes the right to free speech as a constitutional guarantee. The fundamental idea underlying the cry for free speech was to live without the fear of going to jail for expressing one s opinions. The constitution...

Words: 1811

The First Amendment is a legislation that was created that prohibits Congress from adopting laws regarding religious establishment. As a result, there was no restriction on the free exercise of religion, free speech, free press, and the right to congregate and petition the government for redress of people's grievances. (Russo)...

Words: 1759

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The First Amendment's religion clause and freedom of religious expression The First Amendment's religion clause in the United States Constitution protects the freedom of religious expression. This clause states that a state may not pass legislation establishing a particular national religion (Durham, Ferrari, Cianitto, Thayer, 2016). As a result,...

The constitution of the United States, recognized as the supreme ruler of the United States, establishes the US government's national structure. The US constitution has had 27 amendments since its coming into force in 1789 ("This is in order to accommodate the evolving needs of the nation (the Constitution) from...

Words: 1469

The first amendment to the constitution is perhaps the most significant aspect of the constitution's bill of rights. The amendment guarantees five of the most basic rights, including religious freedom, free expression, free press, free assembly, and the right to lobby the government to redress wrongs. However, there are other...

Words: 1143

According to the first amendment, the law regards no religion, but allows its citizens to exercise their free will and practice any religion they want. In educational institutions, religious symbols are not referred to or taught except it is required, and its use should be scrutinized to determine if there...

State Legislation on Children's Educational Programming State legislation states that the Federal Communications Commission should enact rules that will require tv stations to air children's educational programming at least three hours a week. The FCC has offered a limited justification for the imposition of such legislation. However, the majority of the...

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The First Amendment and the Abortion Rights Debate

Sofia Cipriano

Following Dobbs v. Jackson ’s (2022) reversal of Roe v. Wade (1973) — and the subsequent revocation of federal abortion protection — activists and scholars have begun to reconsider how to best ground abortion rights in the Constitution. In the past year, numerous Jewish rights groups have attempted to overturn state abortion bans by arguing that abortion rights are protected by various state constitutions’ free exercise clauses — and, by extension, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. While reframing the abortion rights debate as a question of religious freedom is undoubtedly strategic, the Free Exercise Clause is not the only place to locate abortion rights: the Establishment Clause also warrants further investigation. 

Roe anchored abortion rights in the right to privacy — an unenumerated right with a long history of legal recognition. In various cases spanning the past two centuries, t he Supreme Court located the right to privacy in the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments . Roe classified abortion as a fundamental right protected by strict scrutiny, meaning that states could only regulate abortion in the face of a “compelling government interest” and must narrowly tailor legislation to that end. As such, Roe ’s trimester framework prevented states from placing burdens on abortion access in the first few months of pregnancy. After the fetus crosses the viability line — the point at which the fetus can survive outside the womb  — states could pass laws regulating abortion, as the Court found that   “the potentiality of human life”  constitutes a “compelling” interest. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992) later replaced strict scrutiny with the weaker “undue burden” standard, giving states greater leeway to restrict abortion access. Dobbs v. Jackson overturned both Roe and Casey , leaving abortion regulations up to individual states. 

While Roe constituted an essential step forward in terms of abortion rights, weaknesses in its argumentation made it more susceptible to attacks by skeptics of substantive due process. Roe argues that the unenumerated right to abortion is implied by the unenumerated right to privacy — a chain of logic which twice removes abortion rights from the Constitution’s language. Moreover, Roe’s trimester framework was unclear and flawed from the beginning, lacking substantial scientific rationale. As medicine becomes more and more advanced, the arbitrariness of the viability line has grown increasingly apparent.  

As abortion rights supporters have looked for alternative constitutional justifications for abortion rights, the First Amendment has become increasingly more visible. Certain religious groups — particularly Jewish groups — have argued that they have a right to abortion care. In Generation to Generation Inc v. Florida , a religious rights group argued that Florida’s abortion ban (HB 5) constituted a violation of the Florida State Constitution: “In Jewish law, abortion is required if necessary to protect the health, mental or physical well-being of the woman, or for many other reasons not permitted under the Act. As such, the Act prohibits Jewish women from practicing their faith free of government intrusion and thus violates their privacy rights and religious freedom.” Similar cases have arisen in Indiana and Texas. Absent constitutional protection of abortion rights, the Christian religious majorities in many states may unjustly impose their moral and ethical code on other groups, implying an unconstitutional religious hierarchy. 

Cases like Generation to Generation Inc v. Florida may also trigger heightened scrutiny status in higher courts; The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (1993) places strict scrutiny on cases which “burden any aspect of religious observance or practice.”

But framing the issue as one of Free Exercise does not interact with major objections to abortion rights. Anti-abortion advocates contend that abortion is tantamount to murder. An anti-abortion advocate may argue that just as religious rituals involving human sacrifice are illegal, so abortion ought to be illegal. Anti-abortion advocates may be able to argue that abortion bans hold up against strict scrutiny since “preserving potential life” constitutes a “compelling interest.”

The question of when life begins—which is fundamentally a moral and religious question—is both essential to the abortion debate and often ignored by left-leaning activists. For select Christian advocacy groups (as well as other anti-abortion groups) who believe that life begins at conception, abortion bans are a deeply moral issue. Abortion bans which operate under the logic that abortion is murder essentially legislate a definition of when life begins, which is problematic from a First Amendment perspective; the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prevents the government from intervening in religious debates. While numerous legal thinkers have associated the abortion debate with the First Amendment, this argument has not been fully litigated. As an amicus brief filed in Dobbs by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Center for Inquiry, and American Atheists  points out, anti-abortion rhetoric is explicitly religious: “There is hardly a secular veil to the religious intent and positions of individuals, churches, and state actors in their attempts to limit access to abortion.” Justice Stevens located a similar issue with anti-abortion rhetoric in his concurring opinion in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989) , stating: “I am persuaded that the absence of any secular purpose for the legislative declarations that life begins at conception and that conception occurs at fertilization makes the relevant portion of the preamble invalid under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Federal Constitution.” Judges who justify their judicial decisions on abortion using similar rhetoric blur the line between church and state. 

Framing the abortion debate around religious freedom would thus address the two main categories of arguments made by anti-abortion activists: arguments centered around issues with substantive due process and moral objections to abortion. 

Conservatives may maintain, however, that legalizing abortion on the federal level is an Establishment Clause violation to begin with, since the government would essentially be imposing a federal position on abortion. Many anti-abortion advocates favor leaving abortion rights up to individual states. However, in the absence of recognized federal, constitutional protection of abortion rights, states will ban abortion. Protecting religious freedom of the individual is of the utmost importance  — the United States government must actively intervene in order to uphold the line between church and state. Protecting abortion rights would allow everyone in the United States to act in accordance with their own moral and religious perspectives on abortion. 

Reframing the abortion rights debate as a question of religious freedom is the most viable path forward. Anchoring abortion rights in the Establishment Clause would ensure Americans have the right to maintain their own personal and religious beliefs regarding the question of when life begins. In the short term, however, litigants could take advantage of Establishment Clauses in state constitutions. Yet, given the swing of the Court towards expanding religious freedom protections at the time of writing, Free Exercise arguments may prove better at securing citizens a right to an abortion. 

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First amendment states that congress.

It is reasonable to conclude, therefore, that Congress has enacted sufficient regulation on business communication. Given that businesses are comprised of individuals who are subject to First Amendment protection, for the government to treat business communication as distinct from personal communication, however noble the idea in spirit, creates a conflict that is not easily reconciled. If anything, reconciliation of this conflict will see a further reduction on the limits of corporate speech, which at present has more than enough regulation. Sullivan (2010) notes that there are different views of the role of free speech in the Constitution. One view holds that free speech upholds political equality, the other that it upholds political liberty. The former view seeks for equality of speech outcomes, such that those with power should not suppress the speech of those without power. The latter view holds that all speech should be equal, and that the First….

Works Cited:

Seltzer, W. (2010). Free speech unmoore in copyright's safe harbor: Chilling effects of the DMCA on the First Amendment. Harvard Journal of Law & Technology. Vol. 24 (1) 171-226.

Snow, N. (2009). Copytraps. Indiana Law Journal. Vol. 84 (1)

Sullivan, K. (2010). Two concepts of freedom of speech. Harvard Law Review. 143 (2010).

Thierer a. (2008). Scalia on video game regulation. Technology Liberation Front. Retrieved November 6, 2012 from  http://techliberation.com/2008/02/20/scalia-on-video-game-regulation/

First Amendment in 1787 Our Forefathers Ratified

First Amendment In 1787 our forefathers ratified the constitution of the United States of America, which contains the most important document to any American citizen, the Bill of ights (Magarian, 2012). The First Amendment to the United Sates Constitution is known to be part of the nation's Bill of ights. The first amendment is maybe the most vital section of the United States Constitution for the reason that the amendment guarantees the people writing and publishing, freedom of religion, speech, peaceful assembly, and the freedom to raise complaints with the Government. Furthermore, amendment necessitates that there be a separation upheld between church and state. The various Sections of the 1st Amendment and what each one means. The first amendment to the United States Constitution says the following; 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….

References:

The 5 First Amendment Freedoms. (2010, March 7). Retrieved from Freedom of Information:  http://www.illinoisfirstamendmentcenter.com/freedoms.php 

Engelken, S.J. (2011). MAJORITARIAN DEMOCRACY IN A FEDERALIST SYSTEM: THE LATE CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT. Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy,, 45(8), 695-726.

Magarian, G.P. (2012). Speaking truth to firepower: How the first amendment destabilizes the second. Texas Law Review, 91(1), 49-99.

Talbot, C.A. (1999). The first amendment: Saving us from ourselves. Brigham Young University Law Review, 1993(2), 981-994.

First Amendment Applications of the First Amendment

First Amendment Applications Applications of the First Amendment The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the American people against laws made by Congress that would restrict the right to free speech or a free press, however, with the advancement of technology Americans have created new mediums of communication and the rights guaranteed in the Constitution have had to be applied to these new mediums. As a result, the Supreme Court has determined that the different types of medium involved in communication are protected in different ways. Therefore the freedom of speech and press, guaranteed in the Constitution, has been applied to legal cases involving these differing mediums of communication in quite different ways. When the Constitution was written the main means of communication in the public arena was the newspaper, and the founding fathers wanted to ensure that these newspapers had the freedom to print what they liked. In 1974 this freedom….

FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U.S. 726 (1978). Retrieved from  http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=U.S.&vol=438&invol=726 

Miami Herald Publishing Company v. Tornillo, 418 U.S. 241 (1974). Retrieved

from  http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/418/241/case.html 

Red Lion Broadcasting Co., Inc. v. FCC, 395 U.S. 367 (1969). Retrieved

First Amendment Advertising Is a Critical Component

First Amendment Advertising is a critical component of any business. Many forms of advertising are protected by the First Amendment, yet "the Supreme Court for many years took the view that commercial speech -- speech that proposes an economic transaction -- was not protected by the First Amendment" (Linder 2012). However, in Virginia State Board of Pharmacy (1976), the Court ruled against a law prohibiting advertising the prices of prescription drugs. But this decision was based not upon the rights of the corporation to free speech, but the rights of consumers to "receive information" to enable them to make decisions (Linder 2012). However, the Court has also found in favor of attempts to limit the constitutional freedoms of businesses to engage in unfettered speech, such as in the case of bans upon cigarette advertisements directed towards minors or on television to the general public. In 1971, all television advertisements directed towards minors….

First Amendment of the U S Constitution the

First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the first of ten amendments in the so-named Bill of Rights, states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The two clauses in the sentence are called, respectively, the "Establishment Clause" and the "Freedom Clause." The Establishment Clause has been interpreted to mean that the government cannot establish a national religion. The Freedom Clause is usually interpreted to mean that the government cannot prefer one religion over another. The First Amendment is widely believed to mandate the separation of Church and State, but nowhere in the Constitution, nor in the First Amendment, does the phrase "separation of Church and State appear. In fact, the word "church" does not appear at all. The word "religion" is used instead, which is an important distinction. The Bill of Rights was adopted by the necessary number of states in 1791.….

Works Cited

"AU's Lynn Challenges Sarah Palin Remarks on Religion and Government." Journal of Church

and State. 63.6 (2010): 17-18. Web. MasterFILE Premier. 8 Dec. 2013.

Barry, John M. "God, Government and Roger Williams' Big Idea." Smithsonian. 42.9 (2012):

72-90. Web. MasterFILE Premier. 8 Dec. 2013.

First Amendment Full Text Congress

easoning: egardless of Ballard's religious beliefs, the Court determined (along with the original trial judge) that the only issue at hand was whether or not Ballard believed in good faith that he could heal people. The underlying religious beliefs f the "I Am" movement did not matter. This made the prohibition against the state or even juries determining the validity of religious beliefs explicit, stating that not only were they immaterial but that they were unallowable for consideration under the law. Minersville School District v. Gobitis 310 U.S. 586 (1940) Facts: Two children (10 and 12) were suspended from school for refusing to salute the flag on religious grounds (the children were Jehova's Witnesses). Issue: Were the children's due process denied because of their exercise of religious freedom? Holding: The suspension stood; the right of the school district to promote national unity was determined more at issue than the freedom of religious exercise limited by….

Cornell University Law School. (2009). "Amendment I." The U.S. Constitution. Accessed 11 September 2009.  http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.billofrights.html#amendmenti 

The Religious Freedom Page. (2009). "Court Decisions. Accessed 11 September 2009.  http://religiousfreedom.lib.virginia.edu/court/ 

U.S. Constitution Online. (2009). "Amendment 1 -- freedom of religion, press." Accessed 11 September 2009.  http://www.usconstitution.net/constnotes.html#Am1

First Amendment the Founding of

" Although the results then were not complementary to this clause of the First Amendment, the actions made then opened the floodgates for redresses of grievances against the United States government. The validity and effectiveness of the First Amendment as well as all other amendments of the United States Constitution can be determined through various tests in time. Fortunately, the First Amendment stood steadfast and changed various facets of American lives throughout the centuries. ut despite all these, the First Amendment, and even the whole American Constitution and ill of Rights for that matter, cannot be deemed as perfect because any case brought to test it will have results that are both acceptable to some and unacceptable also. This is what makes for a great democracy like the United States when its laws are not taken at face value but rather there will be challenges to the applicability thereto. In the….

Bibliography:

American Civil Liberties Union. Freedom of Expression: ACLU Briefing Paper Number 10. The 'Lectric Law Library. 2011. 14 Aug. 2011. .

Anti-Defamation League. Separation of Church and State: A First Amendment Primer. 2001. 14 Aug. 2011. .

Cybertelecom. Free Speech and Internet Censorship. 10 Aug. 2011. 14 Aug. 2011. .

Hinkle, A. Barton. Fundamentalists vs. The First Amendment. Richmond Times-Dispatch. 19 Jul. 2011. 14 Aug. 2011. .

First Amendment the First Amendment

he issue of free speech and the ability of a group to exempt itself from the requirements of public education is at the heart of the issue of the question: can a group of religious fundamentalists petition the state to allow their children an exemption from school biology classes that, they believe, are contrary to their religious views (one would presuppose evolutionary theory?) First, an argument to exempt a child from a class would imply that if there was any part of the core curriculum that a parent might feel conflicted with a religious philosophy, the child would be able to opt out. So, if a religious group believed, as it states in the Old estament, that the earth is the center of the universe, created in six days by a master being, then ostensibly the child could be exempt from geology, biology, and even mathematics. his is certainly contrary….

The Establishment Clause in the First Amendment prohibits the State from imposing a national religion, a non-religion, or a religion over another religion. It was not until the later part of the 20th century though, possibly due to a rise in secularism, that the Court began to more strictly interpret what the Constitution was prohibiting (Sullivan and Gunther, 2007, 33-67). For example, in Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village v Grumet (1994), a case surrounding the funding of a school district that was purposefully meant to coincide with the neighborhood boundaries of a religious group, the Court found that could constitute an unconstitutional aid to religion. Justice Souter summed up the issue as "the government should not prefer one religion to another, or religion to irreligion." (Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v Grumet, 1994). Despite the conservative years of the Regan and Bush administrations, and Congressional Passage of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Court found in a 1997 case that not only could Congress not encourage legislation regarding religion, but that any Federal, State, or Local actions to the contrary were also unconstitutional (City of Boerne v Flores, 1997).

The issue of free speech and the ability of a group to exempt itself from the requirements of public education is at the heart of the issue of the question: can a group of religious fundamentalists petition the state to allow their children an exemption from school biology classes that, they believe, are contrary to their religious views (one would presuppose evolutionary theory?) First, an argument to exempt a child from a class would imply that if there was any part of the core curriculum that a parent might feel conflicted with a religious philosophy, the child would be able to opt out. So, if a religious group believed, as it states in the Old Testament, that the earth is the center of the universe, created in six days by a master being, then ostensibly the child could be exempt from geology, biology, and even mathematics. This is certainly contrary to the educational system, and also implies that a study is unable to think for themselves, treat theories as theories, and move beyond rhetoric into high levels of analysis and synthesis of information. Allowing fundamentalist groups to petition for exemption also opens the precedent for all sorts of cultural, behavioral and religious exceptions to any number of curriculum material. There is a long, and rather detailed history of the legal aspect of teaching evolution in the public school (see Appendix a), but for our purposes we will concentrate on three seminal cases that help define this specific issue.

One of the more significant Court victories won by a religious group, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, found that the Free Speech Clause in the First Amendment protected students from being forced

First Amendment Case Study Jonathan Zaun the

First Amendment Case Study Jonathan Zaun The disputed legality of government sponsored religious displays is a matter which must be examined through the unclouded lens provided by the Establishment Clause of the Constitution's 1st amendment. This prohibition of state sanctioned or sponsored religious activity states expressly that governing bodies shall not support or endorse any religious viewpoint through either establishment or preferential treatment. In many instances, however, public displays have been erected under the auspices of government endorsement, displays which include direct religious references while purporting to espouse secular ideals. Legal precedent pertaining to the Constitutionality of public religious displays addresses the following legal issues regarding the dispute between the Church of the Albatross and Springfield citizens opposed to their planned construction of a religious statue: Should the common exception granted to religiously themed displays such Christmas decorations, displays which have been secularized and accepted by the community at large, be extended….

Allegheny County v. Greater Pittsburgh ACLU. No. 492 U.S. 573. Supreme Court of the United

States. 3 July 1989.

City of Elkhart v. William A. Books, et al. No. 532 U.S. 1058. Supreme Court of the United

States. 29 May 2001.

First Amendment the Freedom of

Sir, we would argue that while the government interest in protecting national security is an important interest, the Roth case does not justify the government encroachment on our Freedom of the press. The Roth case provides that the government can encroach on the freedom of the press only if it is attempting to protect other rights from being infringed on. In our case, r. President, none of our rights are at risk. The ban on media coverage of the War is not in response to a perceived loss of rights by the people, but based on a perceived threat to the country. The Roth case does not make provision for infringement on our rights under these circumstances and therefore the infringement is not justified. Even though the Roth case was overruled by iller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973) regarding the issue of whether obscenity is protected under the First….

More recently, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Detroit Free Press v. Ashcroft, 303 F. 3d 681 (6th Cir. 2002), that "The First Amendment, through a free press, protects the people's right to know that their government acts fairly, lawfully, and accurately in deportation proceedings. When government begins closing doors, it selectively controls information rightfully belonging to the people. Selective information is misinformation. The Framers of the First Amendment "did not trust any government to separate the true from the false for us."

While the court in Detroit Free Press examined the issue of whether press coverage should be permitted in a deportation hearing, the broader issue of limitation of the press with regarding what the people are permitted to learn or know applies in our case.

For example, the court ruled in Detroit Free Press that the press should be permitted into the deportation hearings because the people have a right to know what is going on. In our case, we

Education and Religion First Amendment

Religion: First Amendment- Religion and EducationThe legal issue in the grading of the students work in which Jesus has been mentioned and a drawing of the Last Supper was displayed is evident in the US Supreme Court examples. The First Amendment states that Congress would not make any law that would disrespect any religion and avoid their exercise, freedom of speech would be granted to all-region followers, congregations for observing religious rites would not be prohibited, and no petitions would be encouraged by the government for remedying the grievances (Wicht, 2014).The first example of the US Supreme court case is that of Brittney Settle in 1991, a grade-9 student who appealed against her English teacher that she did not accept her work, including an essay on Jesus (Education Week, 1996). She thought she was religiously discriminated against; however, the Court ruled out the light of the 6th Circuits ruling by….

Education Week. (1996, February 1). Student essay on Jesus prompts legal battle.  https://www.edweek.org/education/student-essay-on-jesus-prompts-legal-battle/1996/02 

National Coalition against Censorship. (no date). The First Amendment in schools: Resource guide- religious expression in the public schools. https://ncac.org/resource/the-first-amendment-in-schools-resource-guide-religious-expression-in-the-public-schools#:~:text=Religious%20Messages%3A%20Schools%20may%20not,part%20of%20an%20academic%20program.

US Department of Education. (2020, January 16). Guidance on constitutionally protected prayer and religious expression in public elementary and secondary schools.  https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/religionandschools/prayer_guidance.html

First Amendment and Broadcasting Content

First Amendment rights are not absolute, particularly in regards to advertising. For example, there has been a great deal of pressure to regulate advertising directed at children that promotes unhealthy junk food. "There is a legal test for judging whether commercial speech qualifies for protection under the First Amendment. Called the Central Hudson test, it says that such speech must be truthful and not 'actually or inherently misleading'" and it has been argued that much of commercial advertising targeting children takes advantage of a credulous consumer's inability to tell the difference between truth and fiction (Bittman, 2012, par.11). In this instance, however, the objections raised to our new advertising campaign are not targeted at children. Rather, the concern is merely that children may see inappropriate material, even if it is not intended that they purchase the product. In the past, the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed censorship of certain types of….

First Amendment the Constitution and the Supreme

First Amendment, the Constitution, and the Supreme Court Freedom of and from religion and freedom of speech are the distinct provisions of the First Amendment; it gives citizens of the United States the unalienable human right to assembly and speech. However, the language is intentionally vague. The framers of the Constitution, anticipating unknown applications of the amendment, gave power to the Supreme Court to act as ultimate arbiter in matters involving its provisions. The Constitution of the United States is a living document and the interpretation of its amendments by the Supreme Court changes over time. Freedom of speech and the press, and religious freedom, are exercised according to the Supreme Court's rulings in cases that come before it. Exploration of these cases illuminates the evolving meaning of the First Amendment and the freedoms granted therein. The First Amendment to the Constitution is partially designed to protect journalists and news-content publishers….

Abrams, F. (2005). Speaking Freely: Trials of the First Amendment. New York, NY:

Penguin Group (USA).

Campbell, D.S. (1990). The Supreme Court and Mass Media: Selected Cases,

Summaries, and Analyses. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

First Amendment Rules for the

The media has brought many important issues to life for the American public. For example, during the American civil rights movement, many areas of the country that had been hesitant to endorse full equality for African-Americans were horrified when they saw their fellow Americans being beaten simply for demanding their rights. The media was also highly influential in mobilizing the American public against the Vietnam War. Pictures showed more powerfully than words the terrible carnage and suffering generated by the conflict and the lack of progress that American military involvement was generating in Vietnam, despite the loss of many lives. Conversely, the media has also had a highly negative influence upon American opinion when it distorts the facts, such as when it inflamed opinion during the Spanish-American War and the McCarthy era, causing Americans to believe the propaganda disseminated in ostensibly objective venues. The media can also have a more subtle….

Aron, Leon. (2011). Everything you think you know about the collapse of the Soviet Union was wrong. Foreign Policy. Retrieved September 4, 2011 at  http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/06/20/everything_you_think_you_know_about_the_collapse_of_the_soviet_union_is_wrong?page=0,3 

First Amendment. (2011). Annotated constitution. Cornell Law. Retrieved September 4, 2011 at  http://www.law.cornell.edu/anncon/html/amdt1efrag4_user.html 

Fourth Amendment. (2011). Annotated constitution. Cornell Law. Retrieved September 4, 2011

At  http://www.law.cornell.edu/anncon/html/amdt4frag1_user.html#amdt4_hd4

First Amendment Case

First Amendment including kind cases, examples, Supreme Court rule-Based 1st Amendment grounds? Analyze: a.The Sections 1st Amendment means. The First Amendment The First Amendment is both one of the most significant legislations in the U.S. And one of the most divisive texts in the Bill of Rights. The text was devised with the purpose of preventing Congress from having the authority to either prevent individuals from exercising their right to express their religious views or to prevent the press from publishing ideas that are truthful. Many individuals are inclined to believe that government should not have anything to do with concepts like religion or freedom of the press. As a consequence, these respective people believe the First Amendment to function as a tool intended to assist the U.S. public in being able to access ideas it is entitled to. The First Amendment reads "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of….

Works cited:

Barnett Lidsky, L., & Wrights, R.G. "Freedom of the Press: A Reference Guide to the United States Constitution." (Greenwood Publishing Group, 1 Jan 2004)

Sheehan, K.B. "Controversies in Contemporary Advertising." (SAGE Publications, 30 Jul 2013)

West, E.M. "The Religion Clauses of the First Amendment: Guarantees of States' Rights?" ( Lexington Books, 10 Jul 2012)

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American History

It is reasonable to conclude, therefore, that Congress has enacted sufficient regulation on business communication. Given that businesses are comprised of individuals who are subject to First Amendment…

First Amendment In 1787 our forefathers ratified the constitution of the United States of America, which contains the most important document to any American citizen, the Bill of ights (Magarian, 2012). The…

Business - Law

First Amendment Applications Applications of the First Amendment The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the American people against laws made by Congress that would restrict the right to free…

First Amendment Advertising is a critical component of any business. Many forms of advertising are protected by the First Amendment, yet "the Supreme Court for many years took the view…

Research Paper

Mythology - Religion

First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the first of ten amendments in the so-named Bill of Rights, states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or…

easoning: egardless of Ballard's religious beliefs, the Court determined (along with the original trial judge) that the only issue at hand was whether or not Ballard believed in good…

" Although the results then were not complementary to this clause of the First Amendment, the actions made then opened the floodgates for redresses of grievances against the United…

he issue of free speech and the ability of a group to exempt itself from the requirements of public education is at the heart of the issue of the…

First Amendment Case Study Jonathan Zaun The disputed legality of government sponsored religious displays is a matter which must be examined through the unclouded lens provided by the Establishment Clause of…

Sir, we would argue that while the government interest in protecting national security is an important interest, the Roth case does not justify the government encroachment on our…

Religion: First Amendment- Religion and EducationThe legal issue in the grading of the students work in which Jesus has been mentioned and a drawing of the Last Supper was…

Law - Constitutional Law

First Amendment rights are not absolute, particularly in regards to advertising. For example, there has been a great deal of pressure to regulate advertising directed at children that promotes…

First Amendment, the Constitution, and the Supreme Court Freedom of and from religion and freedom of speech are the distinct provisions of the First Amendment; it gives citizens of…

The media has brought many important issues to life for the American public. For example, during the American civil rights movement, many areas of the country that had been…

First Amendment including kind cases, examples, Supreme Court rule-Based 1st Amendment grounds? Analyze: a.The Sections 1st Amendment means. The First Amendment The First Amendment is both one of the most…

First Amendment Essays

First Amendment Essays

We have gathered for you essays on First Amendment in one place to help you quickly and accurately complete your assignment from college! Check out our First Amendment essay samples and you will surely find the one that suits you!

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First Amendment Rights-Ingraham v. Wright My case is the one of fourteen year old James Ingraham vs. his middle school principle Willie J. Wright Jr. James’ parents are suing the Middle school their son attends (Charles R. Drew Junior High School) because they feel that …

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America speaks of certain guaranteed freedoms of the citizens. Said freedoms, are of paramount importance, and having been guaranteed by the supreme law of the land, it means that intrusions into said rights can …

Charles R. Lawrence III, the writer of the essay that I am about to analyze, is a law teacher at Georgetown University, and also an author of so many articles in law journals. He has accordingly been active in his use of the First Amendment …

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the most prominent nonprofit organization in the United States which works on defending legal issues and other civil liberties that are related to digital world. Established in 1990, EFF champions client security, free articulation, and advancement through effect case, …

“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.” (U.S. Const. …

Jerry Falwell was a well-known Southern Baptist pastor from Lynchburg, Virginia, known for his teleministry (the use of television to share Christianity) and being a conservative activist. Hustler Magazine Inc., introduced in 1974, published by Larry Flynt, is an adult publication magazine. In 1983, one …

Every year, thousands of citizens tune in on Saturday mornings to watch the polarizing event that is college football. This spectacle, run by the infamous National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”), generates over a billion dollars every year. The universities are able to help generate this …

Every day in America we speak our opinions, worship whomever we choose, and write our sentiments out. What if we never had those rights? What if we got punished just by expressing our opinions or even by simply wearing a necklace with a cross on it? …

The introduction of religious passion into politics is the end of honest politics, and the introduction of politics into religion is the prostitution of true religion. – Lord Hailsham Religion was the basis of American colonization and has since played a major role in the …

The First Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is our rights as citizens living in the United States of America. In this paper I will look at three provisions to the First Amendment, highlighting one case for each provision. …

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The Main Aspects of The Right to Speech

First Amendment Cases: Clear And Present Danger

The First Amendment: Freedom of Religion

Civil Rights and First Amendment

Censorship and the First Amendment

The Effects of First Amendment Reforms on the Current Society

Establishment Clause Of The First Amendment Name Religion

Obscene and Indecent Materials on TV

A Study on The Westboro Baptist Church and The Scope of The First Amendment

What is the difference between a liberty and a right? Both words

The Overview of The First Amendment to The United States Constitution

Supreme Court Cases Where Students Influenced The Constitution

First Amendment: a Tool to Protect Liberty

Censorship and the First Amendment - the American Citizen’s Right to Free

Individual Rights vs Public Order

The First and Fourteenth Amendment

The First Amendment is the Most Important

Internet Censorship Research Paper

Press and Democracy

Directions & Limitations on Articulation

First Amendment Petition Clause

Trading Liberty for Illusion Analysis

Students Freedom of Speech in School

The Content of Speech in Order to First Amendment

The Possible Ways to Exploit the First Amendment

Protection our First Amendment V. the End Collective Bargaining

Criticism Of The Second And Twentyfirst Amendments Of The Constitution Research Paper

The Right to Freedom of Religion in The First Amendment of The Constitution

The Origins of the First Amendment

The First Amendment: The Most Discussed Amendment in The Constitution

1st Amendment Court cases

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  • Texas v. Johnson
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  1. The First Amendment Explained

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COMMENTS

  1. 90 First Amendment Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

    The Freedom of Religion clause in the First Amendment represents one of the few official documents on the planet that corroborates free will, specifically, the right to choose, in the arena of religion. We will write. a custom essay specifically for you by our professional experts. 809 writers online.

  2. Sample First Amendment Essay Questions

    Essay Problem 1-- First Amendment Law 2004. Alan Aerts gestures as he talks about his 10-foot-tall singing Grinch in front of his stately French tudor home in Monte Sereno, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma) MONTE SERENO, Calif. (AP) - For six years, Alan and Bonnie Aerts transformed their Silicon Valley home into a Christmas wonderland, complete ...

  3. Overview of First Amendment, Fundamental Freedoms

    The First Amendment also expressly protects the freedoms of speech, press, peaceable assembly, and petition to the Government. The Constitution Annotated essays discussing the First Amendment begin with the Religion Clauses, reviewing the history of these Clauses before explaining, in turn, the Supreme Court's interpretation of the ...

  4. Module 10: The First Amendment

    The First Amendment protects some of our most cherished rights, including religious liberty, free speech, a free press, the right to assemble, and the right to petition our government for a redress of grievances. Together, these essential rights are connected to the freedom of conscience—protecting our ability to think as we will and speak as ...

  5. Essay Topics on First Amendment

    The First Amendment and Its Influence on the English Language. Fascinating Topics to Write about First Amendment. Public Safety Outweighs Petitioner's Right to the First Amendment. The Uncertainty and Confusion Regarding the First Amendment. The First Amendment and American Judicial Institutions. Civil Liberties and the First Amendment.

  6. First Amendment

    Zimmytws/Getty Images. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the freedom of speech, religion and the press. It also protects the right to peaceful protest and to petition the ...

  7. First Amendment Overview Essays

    The essays included in this collection give overviews of some of the most important areas of First Amendment law and scholarship. FIRE hopes that these essays explain the basics of First Amendment case law and jargon in a succinct, yet informative manner. This collection will expand on a regular basis, so please check back for more content.

  8. First Amendment Essay

    Essay On First Amendment. R.I.P. Free Speech The First Amendments is a blessing that the United States is fortunate enough to have. First and foremost, First Amendment protects the right to freedom of religion and expression, without any government interference ("First Amendment" n.p.). The freedom of expression includes the right to free ...

  9. Overview of First Amendment, Fundamental Freedoms

    Th e First Amendment also expressly protects th e freedoms of speech, press, peaceable assembly, and petition to th e Government. Th e Constitution Annotated essays discussing th e First Amendment begin wi th th e Religion Clauses, reviewing th e history of th ese Clauses before explaining, in turn, th e Supreme Court's interpretation of th e ...

  10. First Amendment

    The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual's religious practices.It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.

  11. Bill of Rights Essay Prompts

    The essay topics in this lesson are oriented toward helping your students analyze the Bill of Rights. ... Focus on the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. Explain what this amendment offers ...

  12. 42 Writing Prompts About The Constitution

    Although it was written in the 18th century, the U.S. Constitution is the principle by which our country lives. This means that it is very important for students to read, learn about, and understand the Constitution and how it affects their lives—even in ways that they'd never realized. As you study American History and the Constitution, it ...

  13. ≡Essays on First Amendment. Free Examples of Research Paper Topics

    The First Amendment: The Most Discussed Amendment in The Constitution. 2 pages / 967 words. The first Amendment is one of many that the country of the United States of America follows. It is known where "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of ...

  14. First Amendment Essay Examples, Topics, Titles

    First Amendment Freedoms. There are many important freedoms that are protected by the first amendment but in this essay were going to discuss my opinions on what are the 5 most important ones and why i think that. In my opinion i feel as though the most important freedoms are; freedom of speech, search and seizure, freedom of the press, freedom ...

  15. 90 First Amendment Topic Ideas to Write about & Essay Samples

    Find for a good essay, research or speech topic on First Amendment? Get our index of 89 interesting First Amendment top ideas to write about! ... Fourth Modifying Essay Topics Electoral College Research Topics Freedom Of Expression Questions 90 First Modify Single Topic Ideas & Examples . Updated: Sep 26th, 2023 ...

  16. Free Essays on First Amendment, Examples, Topics, Outlines

    First Amendment; Essays on First Amendment. Your First Amendment essay gives you a chance to explore how people's rights were implemented. After the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the founding fathers of the United States set out to create a Constitution, but the document turned out to be flawed: it did not uphold personal rights.

  17. POS-500 First Amendment Religion and Education

    First Amendment: Religion and Education. Mikel T. Randall Grand Canyon University: POS 500 Professor Richard Oesterle May 4, 2022. The Establishment and Free Exercise Clause When it comes to deciding if an essay on Jesus and a drawing of the Last Supper can be displayed in the classroom, two amendment rights need to be remembered. The Establishment clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the ...

  18. Copyright and the First Amendment

    Fair use serves First Amendment purposes because it allows the public to use not only facts and ideas contained in a copyrighted work, ... 537 U.S. at 219. Topics. Courts and Tribunals; ... Jump to essay-10 Eldred, 537 U.S. at 219 (citing Feist Publ'ns, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., ...

  19. The First Amendment and the Abortion Rights Debate

    Sofia Cipriano Following Dobbs v. Jackson's (2022) reversal of Roe v. Wade (1973) — and the subsequent revocation of federal abortion protection — activists and scholars have begun to reconsider how to best ground abortion rights in the Constitution. In the past year, numerous Jewish rights groups have attempted to overturn state abortion bans by … Continue reading The First Amendment ...

  20. First Amendment Essays: Examples, Topics, & Outlines

    First Amendment In 1787 our forefathers ratified the constitution of the United States of America, which contains the most important document to any American citizen, the Bill of ights (Magarian, 2012). The First Amendment to the United Sates Constitution is known to be part of the nation's Bill of ights. The first amendment is maybe the most vital section of the United States Constitution for ...

  21. First Amendment Essay Examples and Topics at Eduzaurus

    Censorship and the First Amendment - the American Citizen's Right to Free 2722 Adopted in 1791, the First Amendment to the constitution, states that "Congress shall make no law 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."

  22. First Amendment Essay Examples

    The First Amendment. One of our most basic rights as citizens of the United States of America granted to us from the Bill of Rights. It protects our right to practice our own religion, our right to assemble, but most importantly, our right to freedom... First Amendment Free Speech Hate Speech. 3 Pages | 1428 Words.

  23. ≡First Amendment Essays

    Find extra essay topics on First Amendment Essays by our writers. 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.

  24. Biden vs. The First Amendment

    Photo: Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press. In March the Supreme Court will hear arguments over a lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana challenging the Biden ...

  25. Ratification Deadline

    Eighteenth Amendment, Section 3:. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.. The Eighteenth Amendment was the first to specify a deadline for its ratification. 1 Footnote

  26. 89 First Amendment Topic Ideas to Write about & Essay Samples

    Looking for a good essay, research or speech topic on First Amendment? Check our register of 89 interesting First Amendment title ideas till write about! ... Home > Free Essays > Topics > Early Amendment. 3 per! The minimum time our certified dramatists need to deliver a 100% true paper. Learn More. Related Topics.