Reflections On The First Amendment Essay

1010 words - 5 pages

Reflections on the First Amendment
June 15, 2014
Dick Eacott

Reflections on the First Amendment
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to petition the government for a redress of grievances” (Charters of freedom, 1791). This paper will discuss the rights of privacy the First Amendment protects, why so many cases need to be interpreted by the Supreme Court, and finally how those decisions have affected the rights of the ...view middle of the document...

The government may not be viewed as endorsing a religion, any government run programs are considered unconstitutional if they appear to endorse religion, and finally they are prohibited from supporting assistance to religious establishments, including religious schools.
In spite of the wide-ranging liberty of expression ensured by the First Amendment, there are a number of historically established allowances. The government may restrict the time and place of assembling. Certain types of speech do not fall under the protection of the First Amendment rights from government limitations; incitement, dishonest pieces of information, vulgar language, child pornography, fighting words, and threats. As the Supreme Court held in Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), the government may forbid “incitement”—speech “directed at inciting or producing imminent lawless action” and “likely to incite or produce such action” (such as a speech to a mob urging it to attack a nearby building) (2012).
The freedom of expression is one of the most common elements of the First Amendment. It protects not only individuals but also groups rights. In the Supreme Court’s decision in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2002) the courts ruled in favor of the Boy Scouts siting it had the right to exclude gay scoutmasters. The government may ban many kinds of discrimination-but not when such a ban unduly interferes with expressive groups’ ability to convey their message (2012). The cases discussed above have set the precedent for future cases in the lower courts. The First Amendment was interpreted by the Supreme Courts to include all federal, state, and local governments must abide by the freedoms granted to the citizens under their Constitutional rights.

Effects of Supreme Court Cases
Article III, section 1, of the Constitution provides that “[t]he judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish” (2012). The Supreme Court of the United States was created under the Judiciary Act of September 24, 1789. The high court is...

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