1st amendment meaning

The First Amendment was added to the American Constitution in 1791, the meaning of the free speech guarantee has been almost entirely. The First Amendment protects freedom of religion, speech (even hate speech), press and protest. But that doesn't mean there aren't. Still more claim that speech and press freedoms lacked any commonly accepted meaning. The relationship between speech and press freedoms is.

1st amendment meaning -

1st Amendment

The term “1st Amendment” is the term used to identify Amendment I to the United States Constitution. Also, a part of the Bill of Rights, the 1st Amendment spells out several basic rights granted to U.S. citizens. It guarantees freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to assemble peacefully. To explore this concept, consider the following 1st Amendment definition.

Definition of 1st Amendment

Noun

  1. Amendment I to the United States Constitution that grants United States Citizens the freedom to worship, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to assemble peacefully.

Origin

Late-18th century   Old French (Amender)

First Amendment Rights

Congress passed the First Amendment on September 25, 1789, and the states ratified it on December 15, 1791. As one of the original amendments to constitute the Bill of Rights, it protects fundamental rights for Americans. The amendment, sometimes referred to as “freedom of expression,” 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.”

Initially, First Amendment rights only applied to laws at the federal level. However, in 1925, the Supreme Court began applying it to the states through a process known as incorporation. Since the this amendment is rather vague, the Supreme Court interprets the extent of the protection that it offers.

Freedom of Religion

Religion has played a large role in United States politics since the colonial era. After suffering religious persecution in England, the Puritans and Pilgrims fled to New England in the 1600s. The Puritans did not tolerate opposing religious views and banned Catholics, Quakers, and other non-Puritan groups. A banned Puritan, Roger Williams, founded Rhode Island and granted religious freedom to everyone.

In 1779, Thomas Jefferson drafted a bill to guarantees all Virginians religious freedom, but the bill failed. In 1785, when James Madison drafted the First Amendment, which included constitutional protection for freedom of religion. The First Amendment addressed the subject of religion with two provisions: the and the Establishment Clause.

Free Exercise of Religion Clause

The Free Exercise clause grants citizens the right to accept and practice any religious belief, and attend the houses of worship, of their choice. It also protects actions made on behalf of those beliefs unless those actions harm others. The clause also prohibits the government from making laws that specifically target religious groups or practices. One example is Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158 (1944). In this case, the Supreme Court held that states could force inoculation of children, even if it contradicted religious beliefs.

Establishment of Religion

The Establishment Clause in the First Amendment protects freedom of religion by prohibiting the government from establishing a religion. The clause also prevents the government from supporting, endorsing, or becoming too involved in religious activities of any one sect or another. In most Establishment clause cases, the Supreme Court applies the Lemon Test. This test derived from the case of Lemon v. Kurtzman, and now referred to as the “Lemon Test,” uses three requirements that state law must meet:

  1. The law must have a non-religion purpose
  2. The law must not have the primary purpose of advancing or inhibiting religion
  3. The government must avoid excessive entanglement with religion

Both clauses protect freedom of religion, and commonly a violation of one results in a violation of the other. For example, mandatory prayers in public schools violates the establishment clause since public schools are considered government spaces. It also violates the free exercise clause of students who may not believe in prayer. It does not, however, prevent those who wish to pray in public schools from doing so, as long as they do not try to coerce others to follow suit.

When it comes to the government however, protecting one clause risks violating the other. For instance, allowing student-led prayer on school property may violate the Establishment Clause. But, if it prohibits all school prayer on school property, it violates the Free Exercise Clause.

Freedom of Speech

The First Amendment guarantees citizens the right to express information, opinions, and ideas without fear of government censorship. On the most basic level, it grants people the right to express their opinions without fear of censorship by the government, even if the opinion is unpopular. It also protects all forms of communications including printed materials.

Freedom of speech does not mean people can say anything they want, however. For example, the First Amendment does not apply to speech that incites violence, or which causes severe distress to others. It also does not protect speech that incites illegal actions or solicits other people to commit crimes. Other forms of speech not protected include:

The Supreme Court has also addressed the issue of freedom of expression, also known as “artistic freedom.” Freedom of expression is only subject to restriction if it will cause direct and imminent harm. The Supreme Court uses a principle known as “content neutrality” to make decisions regarding artistic freedom. This means that the government cannot censor artistic expression just because part of the population finds it offensive.

Peaceful Assembly

The 1st Amendment also protects the right of peaceful assembly and petition. The right to assemble ensures that the citizens can have public meetings without fear of government interference. It also allows people to form associations. However, these rights are not absolute. The government can restrict the time and place of assembly. These restrictions are permissible if the assembly interferes with the rights of others, or encourages or involves criminal activity.

The Right to Petition gives people the right to petition and lobby government officials. It also allows one to make a complaint against the government or ask for assistance without fear of punishment.

Freedom of the Press

Freedom of the press is crucial to democracy since it encourages the free exchange of ideas. This section of the 1st Amendment gives citizens the right to circulate opinions in print without government censorship. Like the other freedoms granted in the amendment, freedom of the press has limitations. Citizens can seek redress if false statements damage their reputations. It also does not protect the leaking of government documents that pose an immediate threat to military forces.

1st Amendment Example Involving the Establishment Clause

One notable case example on the 1st Amendment is that of Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947). A New Jersey school authorized reimbursement by school boards for transportation to and from school, including private schools. Over 95% of the schools benefitting were parochial Catholic schools. A taxpayer in Ewing Township, Arch R. Everson, filed a lawsuit claiming the indirect aid to religion violated the First Amendment and the state constitution. The lower courts ruled against Everson, and he appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s decision. It ruled that the law did not violate the U.S. Constitution since it did not directly support the Catholic schools. Rather, the law helped parents of all religions transport their children to and from school.

Related Legal Terms and Issues

  • Amendment – The modification, correction, addition to, or deletion from, a legal document.
  • Congress – The legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Источник: https://legaldictionary.net/1st-amendment/

First Amendment Facts 

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The First Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted in 1791. It is part of the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments.

It protects the freedom of speech, religion, and the press. It also gives citizens the right to peaceful protest and to petition the government.

Many U.S. states would not approve the Constitution until these basic rights were included.

first-us-government

What does the First Amendment say?

“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.”

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech gives U.S. citizens the right to express themselves freely. People can share their opinions without worrying about the government interfering.

Over the years, the U.S. Supreme Court has had a hard time deciding what speech is protected and what speech isn’t protected.

For example, obscene material is typically not protected. Speech that will provoke harm to others is also not protected.

But it’s difficult to decide what counts as “obscene” and what words may truly lead to dangerous actions.

Freedom of the Press

Freedom of the press gives people the right to express themselves in publications like newspapers, magazines, online, on television broadcasts, etc.

The Founding Fathers believed that a free press could protect against tyranny and dictatorships. They also thought it could advance human understanding of the arts, sciences, and humanities.

founding fathers

There are limits to the freedom of the press. For instance, libel is not allowed. Libel means false statements that may damage someone’s reputation.

Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion means that the government can’t endorse one religion as the national religion. All citizens of the United States can practice any religion they choose, or they can choose not to practice religion at all.

This amendment also establishes the separation of church and state.

This freedom was extremely important to the Founding Fathers because many of the people who first came to America did so in order to have religious freedom.

Right to Assemble and Petition

American citizens have the right to protest the government. They can peacefully assemble or gather in groups to discuss political, social, and economic issues. They may also gather for religious purposes.

In addition, people have the right to sign petitions or even to sue the government.

petition

Court Cases

One of the first major First Amendment court cases was Schenk v. United States in 1919. Charles Schenck was an activist who was convicted for passing out flyers that encouraged young men to dodge the draft during World War I.

He argued that his freedom of speech was protected. However, the Supreme Court ruled against Schenck.

They said that in this case, his free speech presented a “clear and present danger.” Encouraging soldiers to dodge the draft was a threat to national security.

Another famous case is Texas v. Johnson, which took place in 1990. A man named Gregory Lee Johnson protested President Ronald Reagan by burning an American flag in Dallas, Texas.

A Texas court ruled that Johnson had broken the law by destroying the flag. In a controversial decision, the Supreme Court overturned the ruling. They said that Johnson was protected by his First Amendment rights.

At the time, Texas and 47 other states had laws saying that flag burning was illegal. The Supreme Court ruling invalidated these laws.

flag-burning-illegal

Other Interesting Facts About the First Amendment

People who supported the Constitution were called Federalists. People who did not support it were called Antifederalists.

The Antifederalists felt that the Constitution didn’t give enough rights to the states or to individuals. To compromise, the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment were written.

The First Amendment was written by James Madison (along with the rest of the Bill of Rights).

The First Amendment does not protect people from getting fired from a job for saying something offensive or inappropriate. It does not protect plagiarism or encouraging someone to commit a crime.

first-amendment

There is often confusion over whether students have First Amendment rights at school. The Supreme Court has said students “do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression at the schoolhouse gates.”

So yes, you do have your First Amendment rights at school!

However, the courts allow school officials to regulate student expression that disrupts the school environment or invades the rights of other students.

Many state constitutions also protect freedom of speech. Some states have adopted laws that provide even greater protection for freedom of speech.

US Government

Источник: https://www.coolkidfacts.com/first-amendment-facts/

What the First Amendment protects — and what it doesn't


The First Amendment is a mere 45 words. But it's still giving lawmakers and judges fits  227 years after its adoption.

The government can't establish religion, but federal, state and municipal officials can open meetings with a prayer.

The government can't block religious exercise, but it's trying to ban travelers from majority-Muslim countries in the name of national security. 

It can't restrict free speech — not even hate speech or flag-burning or protests of military funerals. But don't try shouting "Fire!" in a theater or threatening folks on Facebook.

It can't muzzle the media, unless it concerns outright lies made with malicious intent. 

And peaceful protests are protected, but that doesn't mean the Secret Service can't push you around a little in order to protect the president.

Sound confusing? Here's your guide to the First Amendment, circa 2018:

Public protests

If white nationalists and neo-Nazis can march through the college town of Charlottesville, Va., and win backing from the American Civil Liberties Union, the rights of demonstrators are in safe hands.

What remains in doubt: whether such protests can be accompanied by displays of weapons, even in states that permit firearms to be carried in public. That raises the potential for violence, which public officials have the authority to prevent.

In a series of cases dating back to the 1960s, the Supreme Court has struck down restrictions on so-called "hate speech" unless it specifically incites violence or is intended to do so.

The First Amendment, the justices have said, protected neo-Nazis seeking to march through heavily Jewish Skokie, Ill., in 1977. It protected a U.S. flag burner from Texas in 1989, three cross burners from Virginia in 2003 and homophobic funeral protesters in 2011.

Even symbols of intimidation, such as torches carried by some marchers in Charlottesville, are protected unless they have specific targets. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented in the cross-burning case, reasoning that "those who hate cannot terrorize and intimidate," but he was on the losing end of an 8-1 vote.

Public speakers

If right-wing demonstrators are protected by the First Amendment, so too are right-wing speakers. The Supreme Court made that clear in 1969 when it protected a Ku Klux Klan member decrying Jews and blacks in Ohio because he did not pose an imminent threat.

Richard Spencer, a white nationalist who has traveled the country on a controversial "alt-right" speaking tour, is but the most recent example. He's been allowed to speak, along with counter-demonstrators aligned with a left-wing coalition known as Antifa.

Spencer is better off giving sparsely attended speeches and facing opponents in Florida, Michigan and Virginia than he would be overseas. He's been banned from visiting large portions of Europe and Great Britain by government officials who said his speeches foster hatred. Under the First Amendment, those bans would not stand. 

“The American free speech tradition holds unequivocally that hate speech is protected, unless it is intended to and likely to incite imminent violence,” says Jeffrey Rosen, president of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Adds Justice Stephen Breyer: "It's there for people whose speech you don't like."

Censorship

Speech isn't restricted to the spoken or written word. The First Amendment also protects movies and TV, art and music, yard signs and video games, clothing and accessories.

The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of video games depicting the slaughter of animals. It has upheld derogatory trademarks, such as those promoting The Slants, an Asian-American rock band. When a Pennsylvania school district tried to stop students from wearing breast cancer awareness bracelets reading "I (Heart) Boobies," the court refused even to hear the case.

But as usual, there are exceptions. When the speaker is the government, the court has allowed for censorship — such as when Texas refused to permit specialty license plates displaying the Confederate flag. The justices reasoned that the government, not the motorist, was doing the talking.

Compelled speech

The First Amendment gives you the right to speak out — as well as the right "to refrain from speaking at all," Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote in 1977. That signaled a win for a New Hampshire couple who covered up part of their home state's motto, "Live Free or Die," on license plates. 

The doctrine is up for grabs in three major Supreme Court cases this term. It appears likely the justices will rule that an Illinois state employee cannot be compelled to contribute to his local union. They also seem inclined to say that California cannot force anti-abortion pregnancy centers to inform clients where they can get an abortion.

The third case is a closer call: Must a deeply religious Colorado baker use his creative skills to bake a cake for a same-sex couple's wedding? Here the court seems split.

"The case isn't about same-sex marriage, ultimately. It isn't about religion, ultimately," says Jeremy Tedesco, a lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Jack Phillips. "It’s about this broader right to free speech, the right to be free of compelled speech.”

Social media

Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites can police their own websites to control what's posted. But under the First Amendment, the government has no such right.

Thus did the Supreme Court rule that a North Carolina law criminalizing social media use by sex offenders violated the First Amendment. 

The justices also gave a temporary reprieve to an angry, self-styled rapper who rattled his wife, co-workers and others on Facebook. Phrases such as "Hell hath no fury like a crazy man in a kindergarten class" are criminal only if intended as a threat, they ruled, and sent the case back to a lower court, which ruled against him on that basis.

Campaign spending

If you want to put free speech rights to work in politics, you're in luck. The Supreme Court equates campaign spending with speech.

Say you're a wealthy individual, or you run a corporation that wants to spend unlimited amounts in this year's elections. As long as you do not coordinate your spending with a candidate or political committee, you're home free.

And while there are anti-corruption limits on how much you can donate directly to a candidate, committee or political party, the court recently ditched restrictions on the total amount you can apportion among those recipients. That means you can give to as many campaigns as you like.

Religious exercise

Your First Amendment right to exercise your religion depends on what other rights it bumps up against. That's why it's a frequent conundrum in court.

When the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby wanted out from Obamacare's requirement that employers offer free coverage of contraceptives, the Supreme Court ruled narrowly in its favor. The corporation's First Amendment right "protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control" it, Justice Samuel Alito said.

And when a Lutheran church in Missouri was denied state funds to resurface its playground, the high court said the separation of church and state does not apply to purely secular activities such as swings and slides. 

But religious claims are not a slam dunk, as Phillips, the Colorado baker, may discover. At least four justices — possibly five — are likely to say his speech and religious beliefs must take a back seat to public accommodations laws requiring that merchants serve all customers. 

Religious establishment

This is another area where more than two centuries haven't reduced passions on both sides, often leaving courts divided.

Public schools cannot lead children in prayer, a prohibition that has been extended in recent years to graduations and football games. But Congress, state legislatures and local governments can open their sessions with a prayer, provided the audience is not coerced to participate.

The line between what's OK and what's not is even thinner than that. On the same day in 2005, the Supreme Court ruled against displaying the Ten Commandments inside a county courthouse but said it could be memorialized outdoors on statehouse grounds.  

Press freedom

President Trump took aim at the press soon after coming into office. “Our current libel laws are a sham and a disgrace and do not represent American values or American fairness,” he said.

Since the 1960s, the Supreme Court has made clear that the First Amendment protects statements made about public officials unless they are false and intended to defame. Only "reckless disregard for the truth" is unprotected.

Furthermore, the media can publish information from classified documents even if the government says it would threaten national security, a conclusion reached in the Pentagon Papers case featured in the recent film, The Post.

This explainer is part of the Trusting News project. Learn more about it here.

For more information on the First Amendment, check out the National Constitution Center, the Newseum Institute and the Legal Information Institute.

 

 

 

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Источник: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/04/06/what-first-amendment-protects-and-what-doesnt/469920002/
  Columnist

The right to the freedom of speech has been invoked a lot lately though really not more frequently than any other time during the past 228 years. A few things need to be cleared up about that freedom, however.  

Many people seem to believe there is a law titled “Freedom of Speech” that allows you to say anything. For instance, somebody goes on a Facebook page and says something and the moderator of that page deletes that person’s comments.

“That’s a violation of my freedom of speech,” that person might claim. Well, uh, no. It’s not.

Freedom of speech, as most of us constitutional scholars know, is embedded in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. It’s there with the other big ones, such as freedom of religion, the press and the right to free assembly.

What does the First Amendment say?

In fact, the First Amendment does not actually promise you the right to say whatever you want. It simply states the government can take no action that interferes with those rights.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging freedom of speech, or of the press.”

There are restrictions, such as the concept that you can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater if there is no fire.

And while I have never heard anyone needlessly yelling “fire” in such a circumstance, I did and hear something in the reverse. I was sent to cover a fire in the business district of Pompton Lakes. Nobody was hurt, fortunately, but it was a large-scale blaze with fire trucks from many communities arriving at the scene.

A fire official trying to coordinate the efforts was asked where responding trucks should go. He directed equipment to a staging area at Colonial Theater across the street. Because of all the onlookers, communications were challenging, so the official put down the radio and simply yelled, “At the theater. The theater.”

Yes, I was there to hear somebody yell “theater” at a crowded fire. True story.

Mike Kelly: What are the limits of free speech now?

That didn’t require protection from the Constitution, because it was all in the line of the truth. But I digress.

People say someone’s right to free speech is violated when another person cuts them off or otherwise inhibits their words. Lots of people in the media have lost jobs, influence and other perks when they were fired because of things they said or did.

“They have freedom of speech.” Yes, they do. Did the government threaten them?  No. Maybe by harassing them over tax returns? No. They were fired because of business decisions. That’s how capitalism works.

Somebody says their comments on Facebook or Twitter got them fired. Well, too bad. The First Amendment prevents the government from taking action against your words, but it doesn’t protect you from that drunken, late-night rant against your boss.

Now people don’t like being edited in social media. Well, if you say something on a page the creator of that page doesn’t like, sorry, you have no rights or redress. You can start your own page, if you like.

But someone who runs a moderated page has as much right to regulate what is said on that page as if it were their living room. That’s government staying off your back!

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Источник: https://www.northjersey.com/story/life/columnists/2018/01/23/clearing-up-confusion-freedom-speech/1054711001/

First Amendment

What is First Amendment?

The First Amendment, passed by Congress on September 25, 1789 and ratified on December 15, 1791, protects the freedoms of Speech, Religion, Press, Assembly, and Petition for Americans.

Key Takeaways

  • The First Amendment, passed by Congress on September 25, 1789 and ratified on December 15, 1791, protects the freedoms of Speech, Religion, Press, Assembly, and Petition for Americans.
  • Collectively these freedoms protected by the First Amendment are known as “freedom of expression.”
  • The First Amendment is a key part of the Western liberal conception of limited government.

Understanding First Amendment

The First Amendment is the first of the original 10 amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution which were designed to protect a number of fundamental rights for Americans. The First Amendment, however, is not absolute. That is why there are prohibitions against knowingly false statements (libel laws), obscenity, and inciting violence. You cannot, for instance, yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

Freedoms of speech, press, right to assemble peacefully, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances are vital for a functioning democracy. Freedom of religion is enshrined by the First Amendment clause that prohibits the government from establishing one set religion for all and allows people the free practice of the religion of their choosing. The First Amendment is a hallmark of the conception of limited government.

Collectively the freedoms of Speech, Religion, Press, Assembly, and Petition are known as “freedom of expression”. From the 20th century onward, many individuals and entities have legally challenged the government when they believed their rights were under attack. In response to these legal challenges, courts ranging from the U.S. Supreme Court to federal courts of appeals, district courts, and state courts have issued judgments in landmark First Amendment cases.

The First Amendment protects against the government penalizing expression, but it does not protect against businesses doing so.

Examples of First Amendment Cases

Many of these cases deal with freedom of speech, which is often viewed as the foundation on which the other First Amendment freedoms are based. In a business context, the right to free speech often causes the greatest controversy. In the workplace it gives rise to questions such as whether an employee can be fired for participating in a political rally or for speaking to the press about work conditions. In a more modern context, can someone be terminated for a non-work-related post on social media?

  • Schenck v. United States - This 1919 case was a landmark in this context. Charles Schenck was an antiwar activist during World War I who was arrested for sending leaflets to new armed forces recruits and enlisted men that urged them to ignore their draft notices. The Supreme Court affirmed the defendant’s conviction on the grounds that Schenck was a threat to national security through his attempts to interfere with recruitment and incite insubordination in the armed forces. In his ruling, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes defined a “clear and present danger test” to determine whether speech is protected by the First Amendment in such cases. This established the principle that an individual who is a “clear and present” danger to U.S. security would not have the right to free speech.
  • Google Employee Firing - A case involving search giant Google Inc. in August 2017 provides another good example. A Google employee, James Damore, posted a 10-page memo to an internal company forum arguing that women were underrepresented in the tech industry because of “biological causes” of differences between men and women, and it criticized the company for its diversity and inclusion initiatives. The memo was subsequently leaked to the media, setting off a firestorm of outrage and a heated debate about the limits of free speech in the workplace. Damore was fired shortly thereafter because the memo violated Google’s code of conduct and crossed the line “by advancing harmful gender stereotypes,” according to Google’s CEO. What many people don’t understand is that, as the Washington Post put it at the time of the firing, “the First Amendment protects people from adverse actions by the government, but it does not generally apply to actions by private employers.” There is, after all, no guarantee of employment in the U.S. Constitution. The employee and several other employees with similar issues sued Google in January 2018. The case was dropped in May 2020.
Источник: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/first-amendment.asp

The Right to Petition Government

Elisia Hahnenberg

Definition

To understand the definition of the concept, right to petition government, one must first understand where this concept originates.  The right to petition is one of the fundamental freedoms of all Americans, and is documented in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. 

The First Amendment consists of five “freedoms,” which are: Religion, Free Speech, Free Press, Assembly, and Petition.  The Petition section of the first amendment, also commonly referred to as the Petition Clause, states that “People have the right to appeal to government in favor of or against policies that affect them or in which they feel strongly.  This freedom includes the right to gather signatures in support of a cause and to lobby legislative bodies for or against legislation,” (Copley First Amendment Center) (2).  A more simple definition of the right to petition, is “the right to present requests to the government without punishment or reprisal.  This right is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution” (History Central, 1).

Looking at the specific definition of the word petition, as it relates to the freedom of petition and the First Amendment, the word can be used to describe “any nonviolent, legal means of encouraging or disapproving government action, whether directed to the judicial, executive or legislative branch.  Lobbying, letter-writing, e-mail campaigns, testifying before tribunals, filing lawsuits, supporting referenda, collecting signatures for ballot initiatives, peaceful protests and picketing: all public articulation of issues, complaints and interests designed to spur government action qualifies under the petition clause…” (Copley First Amendment Center) (1).


Historic Roots

The actual concept of petitioning the government is said to reach at least as far back as the Magna Carta, one of the first documented formal legal systems that was composed by Kingdom of England in 1215.  In the Magna Carta (as translated into modern English), it states, “If we, our chief justice, our officials, or any of our servants offend in any respect against any man, or transgress any of the articles of the peace or of this security, and the offence is made known to four of the said twenty-five barons, they shall come to us - or in our absence from the kingdom to the chief justice—to declare it and claim immediate redress.” In other words, although the power was only granted to the 25 barons elected by the King, these barons still had the authority to petition the Kingdom if they felt injustices were being imposed (British Library, 1).  Later, this right to petition was further confirmed in the English Declaration of Rights, written in 1689, which states that subjects of the King are entitled to petition the King without fear of prosecution (Copley First Amendment Center) (1).

Drawing from these historical documents, the framers of the United States Constitution added the Bill of Rights to the Constitution in 1789, which contained the first ten Amendments of the Constitution.  James Madison composed the First Amendment, which contains the clause regarding the right to petition government that we refer to today. 


Importance

The right to petition our Government, though often overlooked in comparison with the other freedoms listed in the First Amendment, is nonetheless a very significant right that we have in this country.  This right grants people not only the freedom to stand up and speak out against injustices they feel are occurring, but also grants the power to help change those injustices. 

The right to petition government is a freedom that has been firmly upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States on countless occasions, proving that it is considered an inalienable right by the U.S. Government.  During the civil rights movement, for example, the Supreme Court upheld the rights of several groups of individuals protesting segregation at public institutions such as libraries and schools, and ruled that these citizens had every right to express their rights under the petition clause.

Further, the act of petitioning by citizens has also resulted in the change of certain practices.  This can be seen quite commonly in situations involving environmental practices, and has resulted in victories for many environmental activists and organizations.  For example, Oceana, an international organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of the world’s oceans, recently joined with over 100,000 citizens to sign a petition protesting the practice of long hook fishing in many areas of the Atlantic.  The practice had resulted in the accidental catching and often death of many non-targeted populations, including certain endangered species of sea mammals, turtles and birds.  As a result of the petition, a Federal judge banned the long-line fishing in many areas in order to protect these endangered as well as other ocean species (Oceana Organization).

Because several voices are always louder than one, the right to petition is a valuable tool to citizens in that they can join together to speak out for issues they feel are important to them. 


Ties to the Nonprofit/Philanthropic Sector

As mentioned above, several voices are always louder than one.  With this in mind, the way for citizens to petition the government in an effective way is to join together for a common cause, gaining as many people and as much support as possible. 

The nonprofit community plays an active role in petitioning government by providing an organized medium to join citizens together in support of causes or in petition of practices that violate their cause.  If one person alone were to attempt to find hundreds of others to join him/her in a petition against a certain government practice, for example, it would likely take that person a long time to find the number of people needed to really make an impact in their petition.  However, if that individual joined with a nonprofit organization with members who also supported the same cause, together they could make a significant difference should they choose to petition a government practice.

In addition, citizens can provide financial support to these organizations as a way of exercising their support, knowing that their donations help to fund the protection, and if necessary, petition in support or defense of their cause.  For example, the Environmental Defense Organization is an organization whose purpose is to protect human health, restore ecosystems and curb global warming.  Citizens who feel strongly about these issues can get involved with this nonprofit organization through the donation of time and/or money, and as a large group, this organization can have a heavy impact when it does exercise its petitioning rights.  (Environmental Defense Organization)


Key Related Ideas

Bill of Rights:  This document was composed by United States Forefathers.  It contains the first ten amendments of the United States Constitution. The First Amendment states the right to petition as one of its five listed freedoms in which all citizens are entitled. Petition Clause is the formal name for the right to petition as referred to in the First Amendment. Freedom of Petition is a more common term used to describe the right to petition.

Government Response:  It is important to note that in response to a petition from a citizen or citizens, the government is not required to actually respond or address the issue.  Under the Petition Clause, the Government is only required to provide a way for
citizens to petition, and a method in which they will receive the petition (Copley First Amendment Center) (1).

SLAAP Suits stands for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.  These lawsuits are sometimes filed against citizens for speaking about against certain issues in front of public councils such as school boards and city councils.  As outlined in the Petition Clause, lawsuits against the public for exercising their right to petition is considered unconstitutional, and these lawsuits are regularly overturned in the United States Court System (ibid.).


Important People Related to This Topic

  • James Madison (1751-1836):  As the writer of the First Amendment, James Madison is responsible for creating the right to petition.  James Madison was born in Virginia in 1751.  In the 1780’s he worked with the other creators of the U.S. Constitution such as Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton to create the Constitution.  From 1809-1817, Madison served as the fourth president to the United States.

     
  • The Justices of the United States Supreme Court:  There are 9 Supreme Court Justices, whose names have been constantly changing over the past two hundred years as Justices retire and others take office.  As members of the highest court in the United States, the Supreme Court Justices have been responsible for interpreting the Constitution as it applies to the laws created by the Legislative and Executive branches of the US Government. The decisions they have written in the court cases involving the right to petition uphold its importance and citizen’s rights to actively participate in the government process.


Related Nonprofit Organizations

  • The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nationally recognized organization, founded in 1920, that has assisted many groups and citizens in exercising their constitutional right to petition.  As explained on their Web site,  “The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty. We work daily in courts,  legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and  liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws  of the United States.  Our job is to conserve America's original civic values - the  Constitution and the Bill of Rights” (www.aclu.org).
     
  • Environmental Defense Network (EDN) is a leading national nonprofit organization whose purpose is, as stated on their web site, to “fight to protect human health, restore our oceans and ecosystems, and curb global warming.” They were founded in 1967 and have petitioned against many injustices towards the environment resulting in significant legislation.  They now have over 400,000 members (www.environmentaldefense.org). 
     
  • The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is a national nonprofit who defends equal treatment and representation for the Gay and Lesbian Community.  They have initiated many petitions against current government practices through actions such as parades, conferences, and written petitions (www.glaad.org). 
     
  • We the People is a nonprofit organization created in 1997. Their purpose and mission is to “protect, preserve and enhance the unalienable rights, liberties and freedoms of the people.”  Keeping this purpose in mind, We The People has initiated many petitions, specifically against political practices (www.givemeliberty.org).


Bibliography and Internet Sources

  • British Library. The Text of the Magna Carta. https://www.bl.uk/magna-carta.
  • Copley First Amendment Center. (1).  Court Cases. http://www.illinoisfirstamendmentcenter.com/Main.asp?SectionID=8.
  • Copley First Amendment Center.  (2). History of the First Amendment.  http://www.illinoisfirstamendmentcenter.com/Main.asp?SectionID=16.
  • Environmental Defense Organization. Environmental Defense Organization. https://www.edf.org/.
  • First Amendment Center. Petition Overview. https://www.newseum.org/.
  • First Amendment Center. Petition FAQs. https://www.freedomforuminstitute.org/first-amendment-center/.
  • History Central. U.S. Civic Terms. https://www.historycentral.com/Civics/f.html.
  • Oceana. Success Stories. https://oceana.org/index.cfm?sectionID=2.

 

This paper was developed by a student taking a Philanthropic Studies course taught at Grand Valley State University. It is offered by Learning To Give and Grand Valley State University.

Источник: https://www.learningtogive.org/resources/right-petition-government

synonyms for first amendment

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

QUIZ

A Cooking Terms Quiz That's A Flash In The Pan!

START THE QUIZ

How to use first amendment in a sentence

This is the first and principal point at which we can stanch the wastage of teaching energy that now goes on.

THE SALVAGING OF CIVILISATIONH. G. (HERBERT GEORGE) WELLS

And I have not had the first morsel of food prepared from this grain offered me since I reached the shores of Europe.

GLANCES AT EUROPEHORACE GREELEY

Now first we shall want our pupil to understand, speak, read and write the mother tongue well.

THE SALVAGING OF CIVILISATIONH. G. (HERBERT GEORGE) WELLS

In treble, second and fourth, the first change is a dodge behind; and the second time the treble leads, there's a double Bob.

TINTINNALOGIA, OR, THE ART OF RINGINGRICHARD DUCKWORTH AND FABIAN STEDMAN

First a shower of shells dropping all along the lower ridges and out over the surface of the Bay.

GALLIPOLI DIARY, VOLUME IIAN HAMILTON

Elyon is the name of an ancient Phœnician god, slain by his son El, no doubt the “first-born of death” in Job xviii.

SOLOMON AND SOLOMONIC LITERATUREMONCURE DANIEL CONWAY

For this use of the voice in the special service of will-power, or propelling force, it is necessary first to test its freedom.

EXPRESSIVE VOICE CULTUREJESSIE ELDRIDGE SOUTHWICK

WORDS RELATED TO FIRST AMENDMENT

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

Источник: https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/first%20amendment

1st amendment meaning -

Symbolic Speech Protected
In 1931, in Stromberg vs. California, the Court determined that "symbolic speech" is protected under the Constitution. The case was spurred by the conviction of a woman who had displayed a red flag in a public place, an action associated with anarchist groups and then criminal under California law.

The Court found parts of the California statute unconstitutional and by implication ruled that the display of symbols could be protected speech. As applied to the arts, this means that not just words, but paintings, music, theatrical performances, and other types of artistic expression are protected by the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech.

Obscenity Convictions Constitutional
In 1957, in Roth vs. United States, the Court determined that prosecution for possession or distribution of obscene material is lawful, and that obscene speech is not protected under the Constitution. Sam Roth, a publisher and distributor of magazines and books, had been indicted in 1954 for using the mail to advertise and distribute material with sexual content, notably Aubrey Beardsley's Venus and Tannhäuser. His conviction was upheld.

The "Three-Pronged Test" for Obscenity Established
In 1973, in the most important case on freedom of expression, Miller vs. California, the Court established the "three-pronged test" for obscenity, which still applies today. The case concerned bookseller Marvin Miller's conviction under California obscenity laws for distributing illustrated books of a sexual nature.

In Miller, the Court's decision stated that obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment (a reaffirmation of Roth) and that such speech may be regulated by the state under certain circumstances. In order to meet the definition of obscene material articulated in this case, three conditions must be met:

(a) whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest

(b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law

(c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value

The Court also determined that a jury may measure "the essentially factual issues of prurient appeal and patent offensiveness by the standard that prevails in the forum community, and need not employ a 'national standard.'" This establishes a role for the community in making decisions about obscene material.

Obscenity is a narrow category describing materials that meet all three prongs of the definition above. Such material, even if some describe it as art, may be deemed obscene and banned by the state.

"Indecency" is a broader term encompassing material which does enjoy some measure of Constitutional protection, but may still be restricted. For instance, some might find violent images objectionable, even though they do not appeal to prurient interest and thus are not obscene under Miller.

No "three-pronged test" for indecency exists, and although the Court has considered cases involving the arts and proposed standards of decency, the issues of what such standards mean and how they are to be applied have not been resolved.

School Book Selection Covered by First Amendment
In 1982, after years of appeals, the Supreme Court ruled, in Board of Education vs. Pico, that "local school boards may not remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books and seek by their removal to prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion or other matters of opinion." The case was brought by students opposing a directive made by the Island Trees School District in Levittown, N.Y. ordering the removal of books considered "anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, and just plain filthy" from school libraries.

Speech on the Internet Protected
In 1997, in Reno vs. ACLU, the court found the The Communications Decency Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1996 and designed to protect minors from harmful material on the Internet, unconstitutional, ruling that the act abridges the First Amendment.

The full text of these and other Supreme Court decisions can be found at the Supreme Court Collection in Cornell University's Legal Information Institute.

Audio files of the arguments for some of these cases may be available at the Oyez Project at Northwestern University.

Источник: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cultureshock/whodecides/firstamendment.html

Getting an education isn't just about books and grades -- we're also learning how to participate fully in the life of this nation. (Because one day we are going to be in charge!)

But in order to really participate, we need to know our rights -- otherwise we may lose them. The highest law in our land is the U.S. Constitution, which has some amendments, known as the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights guarantees that the government can never deprive people in the U.S. of certain fundamental rights including the right to freedom of religion and to free speech and the due process of law. Many federal and state laws give us additional rights, too.

The Bill of Rights applies to young people as well as adults. And what I'm going to do right here is tell you about RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.


WHAT IS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM EXACTLY?

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that everyone in the United States has the right to practice his or her own religion, or no religion at all. 

Our country's founders -- who were of different religious backgrounds themselves -- knew the best way to protect religious liberty was to keep the government out of religion. So they created the First Amendment -- to guarantee the separation of church and state. This fundamental freedom is a major reason why the U.S. has managed to avoid a lot of the religious conflicts that have torn so many other nations apart. 

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits government from encouraging or promoting ("establishing") religion in any way. That's why we don't have an official religion of the United States. This means that the government may not give financial support to any religion. That's why many school voucher programs violate the Establishment Clause -- because they give taxpayers' money to schools that promote religion.

The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment gives you the right to worship or not as you choose. The government can't penalize you because of your religious beliefs. 


HOW DO YOU KNOW THE GOVERNMENT IS "ESTABLISHING RELIGION"?

In 1971, the Supreme Court decided Lemon v. Kurtzman which created three tests for determining whether a particular government act or policy unconstitutionally promotes religion. 

The Lemon test says that in order to be constitutional, a policy must:

  1. Have a non-religious purpose;   
  2. Not end up promoting or favoring any set of religious beliefs; and   
  3. Not overly involve the government with religion. 

IS IT CONSTITUTIONAL TO TEACH RELIGION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS?

No. The public schools are run by the government. Therefore, they must obey the First Amendment. This means that while they can teach about the influences of religion in history, literature, and philosophy -- they can't promote religious beliefs or practices as part of the curriculum. Since private and parochial schools aren't run by the government, the First Amendment doesn't apply to them.

Also, students can be excused from some school activities if they conflict with their religious beliefs.


CAN MY TEACHER START THE DAY OR A MEETING WITH PRAYER?

No. Prayers, scriptural readings, and loudspeaker devotionals violate the First Amendment because they promote religion. This is true even if the prayer is "non-denominational" (not of any particular religion.) Moments of silence might be unconstitutional -- it depends on whether or not the real reason they're being held is to encourage prayer. 


CAN MY SCHOOL HAVE PRAYERS AT GRADUATION?

No. In 1992, the Supreme Court decided in Lee v. Weisman that graduation prayers are unconstitutional in public schools. Think about it: graduation prayers would give non-believers or kids of other faiths the feeling that their participation in prayer is required. It doesn't matter who leads the prayer -- a minister, a priest, a rabbi, whoever, or whether the prayer is non-denominational -- some kids would feel left out.

Student-led prayer is unconstitutional too. Just because a student or group of students leads the prayer, the graduation ceremony is still a school-sponsored event, right? 

You can choose to have a private alternative event that includes prayer, like a baccalaureate. It just can't be sponsored by the school. Student, parent or church groups can organize it -- but it still must be held off of school grounds.


WHAT IF WE PUT IT TO A VOTE?

That doesn't change anything. In the United States, each individual has certain fundamental freedoms -- including freedom of religion. These can't be taken away, even by "majority rule."

Think about your friends who have different faiths or no religious beliefs at all. They'd still feel excluded from their own graduation exercises. Or worse, they'd feel like the school thought your religion was better than theirs. Put the shoe on the other foot for a second and think about how that would make you feel!


IS IT EVER OK TO PRAY IN SCHOOL?

Sure. Individual students have the right to pray whenever they want to, as long as they don't disrupt classroom instruction or other educational activities -- or try to force others to pray along with them. If a school official has told you that you can't pray at all during the school day, your right to exercise your religion is being violated. Contact your local ACLU for help.


IS IT OK TO CELEBRATE RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS?

It depends. Making Christmas stockings, Easter eggs or Hannukah dreidels is probably okay because, over the years, these have become secular customs that people of many different backgrounds enjoy. But a Nativity pageant, which is full of religious meaning, could be considered unconstitutional.


WHAT ABOUT RELIGIOUS CLUBS OR BIBLE DISTRIBUTION?

Student-organized Bible clubs are OK as long as three conditions are met: 

(1) the activity must take place during non-school hours; (2) school officials can't be involved in organizing or running the club, and (3) the school must make its facilities available to all student groups on an equal basis. So your Bible club couldn't be the only group allowed access to the school grounds. Neither could your school let other student groups use the building for meetings and events and deny your Bible club the same opportunity.

The organized distribution of Bibles or any other holy book during the school day is unconstitutional, even if teachers aren't the ones actually handing out the Bibles, and even if they're not used as a part of the school's educational program. That's because the school building or grounds are still being used to spread a religious doctrine at a time when students are required to be there.

That's what religious freedom is all about -- you are free to worship as you choose -- even if that means not at all.


"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
-- First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution


We spend a big part of our life in school, so let's get involved! Join the student government! Attend school meetings! Petition your school administration! Talk about your rights with your friends! We can make a difference!

Produced by the ACLU Department of Public Education. 125 Broad Street, NY NY 10004. For more copies of this or any other Sybil Liberty paper, or to order the ACLU handbook The Rights of Students or other student-related publications, call 800-775-ACLU or visit us on the internet at https://www.aclu.org. 

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Источник: https://www.aclu.org/other/your-right-religious-freedom

synonyms for first amendment

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

QUIZ

A Cooking Terms Quiz That's A Flash In The Pan!

START THE QUIZ

How to use first amendment in a sentence

This is the first and principal point at which we can stanch the wastage of teaching energy that now goes on.

THE SALVAGING OF CIVILISATIONH. G. (HERBERT GEORGE) WELLS

And I have not had the first morsel of food prepared from this grain offered me since I reached the shores of Europe.

GLANCES AT EUROPEHORACE GREELEY

Now first we shall want our pupil to understand, speak, read and write the mother tongue well.

THE SALVAGING OF CIVILISATIONH. G. (HERBERT GEORGE) WELLS

In treble, second and fourth, the first change is a dodge behind; and the second time the treble leads, there's a double Bob.

TINTINNALOGIA, OR, THE ART OF RINGINGRICHARD DUCKWORTH AND FABIAN STEDMAN

First a shower of shells dropping all along the lower ridges and out over the surface of the Bay.

GALLIPOLI DIARY, VOLUME IIAN HAMILTON

Elyon is the name of an ancient Phœnician god, slain by his son El, no doubt the “first-born of death” in Job xviii.

SOLOMON AND SOLOMONIC LITERATUREMONCURE DANIEL CONWAY

For this use of the voice in the special service of will-power, or propelling force, it is necessary first to test its freedom.

EXPRESSIVE VOICE CULTUREJESSIE ELDRIDGE SOUTHWICK

WORDS RELATED TO FIRST AMENDMENT

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

Источник: https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/first%20amendment

What the First Amendment protects — and what it doesn't


The First Amendment is a mere 45 words. But it's still giving lawmakers and judges fits  227 years after its adoption.

The government can't establish religion, but federal, state and municipal officials can open meetings with a prayer.

The government can't block religious exercise, but it's trying to ban travelers from majority-Muslim countries in the name of national security. 

It can't restrict free speech — not even hate speech or flag-burning or protests of military funerals. But don't try shouting "Fire!" in a theater or threatening folks on Facebook.

It can't muzzle the media, unless it concerns outright lies made with malicious intent. 

And peaceful protests are protected, but that doesn't mean the Secret Service can't push you around a little in order to protect the president.

Sound confusing? Here's your guide to the First Amendment, circa 2018:

Public protests

If white nationalists and neo-Nazis can march through the college town of Charlottesville, Va., and win backing from the American Civil Liberties Union, the rights of demonstrators are in safe hands.

What remains in doubt: whether such protests can be accompanied by displays of weapons, even in states that permit firearms to be carried in public. That raises the potential for violence, which public officials have the authority to prevent.

In a series of cases dating back to the 1960s, the Supreme Court has struck down restrictions on so-called "hate speech" unless it specifically incites violence or is intended to do so.

The First Amendment, the justices have said, protected neo-Nazis seeking to march through heavily Jewish Skokie, Ill., in 1977. It protected a U.S. flag burner from Texas in 1989, three cross burners from Virginia in 2003 and homophobic funeral protesters in 2011.

Even symbols of intimidation, such as torches carried by some marchers in Charlottesville, are protected unless they have specific targets. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented in the cross-burning case, reasoning that "those who hate cannot terrorize and intimidate," but he was on the losing end of an 8-1 vote.

Public speakers

If right-wing demonstrators are protected by the First Amendment, so too are right-wing speakers. The Supreme Court made that clear in 1969 when it protected a Ku Klux Klan member decrying Jews and blacks in Ohio because he did not pose an imminent threat.

Richard Spencer, a white nationalist who has traveled the country on a controversial "alt-right" speaking tour, is but the most recent example. He's been allowed to speak, along with counter-demonstrators aligned with a left-wing coalition known as Antifa.

Spencer is better off giving sparsely attended speeches and facing opponents in Florida, Michigan and Virginia than he would be overseas. He's been banned from visiting large portions of Europe and Great Britain by government officials who said his speeches foster hatred. Under the First Amendment, those bans would not stand. 

“The American free speech tradition holds unequivocally that hate speech is protected, unless it is intended to and likely to incite imminent violence,” says Jeffrey Rosen, president of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Adds Justice Stephen Breyer: "It's there for people whose speech you don't like."

Censorship

Speech isn't restricted to the spoken or written word. The First Amendment also protects movies and TV, art and music, yard signs and video games, clothing and accessories.

The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of video games depicting the slaughter of animals. It has upheld derogatory trademarks, such as those promoting The Slants, an Asian-American rock band. When a Pennsylvania school district tried to stop students from wearing breast cancer awareness bracelets reading "I (Heart) Boobies," the court refused even to hear the case.

But as usual, there are exceptions. When the speaker is the government, the court has allowed for censorship — such as when Texas refused to permit specialty license plates displaying the Confederate flag. The justices reasoned that the government, not the motorist, was doing the talking.

Compelled speech

The First Amendment gives you the right to speak out — as well as the right "to refrain from speaking at all," Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote in 1977. That signaled a win for a New Hampshire couple who covered up part of their home state's motto, "Live Free or Die," on license plates. 

The doctrine is up for grabs in three major Supreme Court cases this term. It appears likely the justices will rule that an Illinois state employee cannot be compelled to contribute to his local union. They also seem inclined to say that California cannot force anti-abortion pregnancy centers to inform clients where they can get an abortion.

The third case is a closer call: Must a deeply religious Colorado baker use his creative skills to bake a cake for a same-sex couple's wedding? Here the court seems split.

"The case isn't about same-sex marriage, ultimately. It isn't about religion, ultimately," says Jeremy Tedesco, a lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Jack Phillips. "It’s about this broader right to free speech, the right to be free of compelled speech.”

Social media

Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites can police their own websites to control what's posted. But under the First Amendment, the government has no such right.

Thus did the Supreme Court rule that a North Carolina law criminalizing social media use by sex offenders violated the First Amendment. 

The justices also gave a temporary reprieve to an angry, self-styled rapper who rattled his wife, co-workers and others on Facebook. Phrases such as "Hell hath no fury like a crazy man in a kindergarten class" are criminal only if intended as a threat, they ruled, and sent the case back to a lower court, which ruled against him on that basis.

Campaign spending

If you want to put free speech rights to work in politics, you're in luck. The Supreme Court equates campaign spending with speech.

Say you're a wealthy individual, or you run a corporation that wants to spend unlimited amounts in this year's elections. As long as you do not coordinate your spending with a candidate or political committee, you're home free.

And while there are anti-corruption limits on how much you can donate directly to a candidate, committee or political party, the court recently ditched restrictions on the total amount you can apportion among those recipients. That means you can give to as many campaigns as you like.

Religious exercise

Your First Amendment right to exercise your religion depends on what other rights it bumps up against. That's why it's a frequent conundrum in court.

When the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby wanted out from Obamacare's requirement that employers offer free coverage of contraceptives, the Supreme Court ruled narrowly in its favor. The corporation's First Amendment right "protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control" it, Justice Samuel Alito said.

And when a Lutheran church in Missouri was denied state funds to resurface its playground, the high court said the separation of church and state does not apply to purely secular activities such as swings and slides. 

But religious claims are not a slam dunk, as Phillips, the Colorado baker, may discover. At least four justices — possibly five — are likely to say his speech and religious beliefs must take a back seat to public accommodations laws requiring that merchants serve all customers. 

Religious establishment

This is another area where more than two centuries haven't reduced passions on both sides, often leaving courts divided.

Public schools cannot lead children in prayer, a prohibition that has been extended in recent years to graduations and football games. But Congress, state legislatures and local governments can open their sessions with a prayer, provided the audience is not coerced to participate.

The line between what's OK and what's not is even thinner than that. On the same day in 2005, the Supreme Court ruled against displaying the Ten Commandments inside a county courthouse but said it could be memorialized outdoors on statehouse grounds.  

Press freedom

President Trump took aim at the press soon after coming into office. “Our current libel laws are a sham and a disgrace and do not represent American values or American fairness,” he said.

Since the 1960s, the Supreme Court has made clear that the First Amendment protects statements made about public officials unless they are false and intended to defame. Only "reckless disregard for the truth" is unprotected.

Furthermore, the media can publish information from classified documents even if the government says it would threaten national security, a conclusion reached in the Pentagon Papers case featured in the recent film, The Post.

This explainer is part of the Trusting News project. Learn more about it here.

For more information on the First Amendment, check out the National Constitution Center, the Newseum Institute and the Legal Information Institute.

 

 

 

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Источник: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/04/06/what-first-amendment-protects-and-what-doesnt/469920002/

1st Amendment

The term “1st Amendment” is the term used to identify Amendment I to the United States Constitution. Also, a part of the Bill of Rights, the 1st Amendment spells out several basic rights granted to U.S. citizens. It guarantees freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to assemble peacefully. To explore this concept, consider the following 1st Amendment definition.

Definition of 1st Amendment

Noun

  1. Amendment I to the United States Constitution that grants United States Citizens the freedom to worship, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to assemble peacefully.

Origin

Late-18th century   Old French (Amender)

First Amendment Rights

Congress passed the First Amendment on September 25, 1789, and the states ratified it on December 15, 1791. As one of the original amendments to constitute the Bill of Rights, it protects fundamental rights for Americans. The amendment, sometimes referred to as “freedom of expression,” 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.”

Initially, First Amendment rights only applied to laws at the federal level. However, in 1925, the Supreme Court began applying it to the states through a process known as incorporation. Since the this amendment is rather vague, the Supreme Court interprets the extent of the protection that it offers.

Freedom of Religion

Religion has played a large role in United States politics since the colonial era. After suffering religious persecution in England, the Puritans and Pilgrims fled to New England in the 1600s. The Puritans did not tolerate opposing religious views and banned Catholics, Quakers, and other non-Puritan groups. A banned Puritan, Roger Williams, founded Rhode Island and granted religious freedom to everyone.

In 1779, Thomas Jefferson drafted a bill to guarantees all Virginians religious freedom, but the bill failed. In 1785, when James Madison drafted the First Amendment, which included constitutional protection for freedom of religion. The First Amendment addressed the subject of religion with two provisions: the and the Establishment Clause.

Free Exercise of Religion Clause

The Free Exercise clause grants citizens the right to accept and practice any religious belief, and attend the houses of worship, of their choice. It also protects actions made on behalf of those beliefs unless those actions harm others. The clause also prohibits the government from making laws that specifically target religious groups or practices. One example is Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158 (1944). In this case, the Supreme Court held that states could force inoculation of children, even if it contradicted religious beliefs.

Establishment of Religion

The Establishment Clause in the First Amendment protects freedom of religion by prohibiting the government from establishing a religion. The clause also prevents the government from supporting, endorsing, or becoming too involved in religious activities of any one sect or another. In most Establishment clause cases, the Supreme Court applies the Lemon Test. This test derived from the case of Lemon v. Kurtzman, and now referred to as the “Lemon Test,” uses three requirements that state law must meet:

  1. The law must have a non-religion purpose
  2. The law must not have the primary purpose of advancing or inhibiting religion
  3. The government must avoid excessive entanglement with religion

Both clauses protect freedom of religion, and commonly a violation of one results in a violation of the other. For example, mandatory prayers in public schools violates the establishment clause since public schools are considered government spaces. It also violates the free exercise clause of students who may not believe in prayer. It does not, however, prevent those who wish to pray in public schools from doing so, as long as they do not try to coerce others to follow suit.

When it comes to the government however, protecting one clause risks violating the other. For instance, allowing student-led prayer on school property may violate the Establishment Clause. But, if it prohibits all school prayer on school property, it violates the Free Exercise Clause.

Freedom of Speech

The First Amendment guarantees citizens the right to express information, opinions, and ideas without fear of government censorship. On the most basic level, it grants people the right to express their opinions without fear of censorship by the government, even if the opinion is unpopular. It also protects all forms of communications including printed materials.

Freedom of speech does not mean people can say anything they want, however. For example, the First Amendment does not apply to speech that incites violence, or which causes severe distress to others. It also does not protect speech that incites illegal actions or solicits other people to commit crimes. Other forms of speech not protected include:

The Supreme Court has also addressed the issue of freedom of expression, also known as “artistic freedom.” Freedom of expression is only subject to restriction if it will cause direct and imminent harm. The Supreme Court uses a principle known as “content neutrality” to make decisions regarding artistic freedom. This means that the government cannot censor artistic expression just because part of the population finds it offensive.

Peaceful Assembly

The 1st Amendment also protects the right of peaceful assembly and petition. The right to assemble ensures that the citizens can have public meetings without fear of government interference. It also allows people to form associations. However, these rights are not absolute. The government can restrict the time and place of assembly. These restrictions are permissible if the assembly interferes with the rights of others, or encourages or involves criminal activity.

The Right to Petition gives people the right to petition and lobby government officials. It also allows one to make a complaint against the government or ask for assistance without fear of punishment.

Freedom of the Press

Freedom of the press is crucial to democracy since it encourages the free exchange of ideas. This section of the 1st Amendment gives citizens the right to circulate opinions in print without government censorship. Like the other freedoms granted in the amendment, freedom of the press has limitations. Citizens can seek redress if false statements damage their reputations. It also does not protect the leaking of government documents that pose an immediate threat to military forces.

1st Amendment Example Involving the Establishment Clause

One notable case example on the 1st Amendment is that of Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947). A New Jersey school authorized reimbursement by school boards for transportation to and from school, including private schools. Over 95% of the schools benefitting were parochial Catholic schools. A taxpayer in Ewing Township, Arch R. Everson, filed a lawsuit claiming the indirect aid to religion violated the First Amendment and the state constitution. The lower courts ruled against Everson, and he appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s decision. It ruled that the law did not violate the U.S. Constitution since it did not directly support the Catholic schools. Rather, the law helped parents of all religions transport their children to and from school.

Related Legal Terms and Issues

  • Amendment – The modification, correction, addition to, or deletion from, a legal document.
  • Congress – The legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Источник: https://legaldictionary.net/1st-amendment/

The Right to Petition Government

Elisia Hahnenberg

Definition

To understand the definition of the concept, right to petition government, one must first understand where this concept originates.  The right to petition is one of the fundamental freedoms of all Americans, and is documented in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. 

The First Amendment consists of five “freedoms,” which are: Religion, Free Speech, Free Press, Assembly, and Petition.  The Petition section of the first amendment, also commonly referred to as the Petition Clause, states that “People have the right to appeal to government in favor of or against policies that affect them or in which they feel strongly.  This freedom includes the right to gather signatures in support of a cause and to lobby legislative bodies for or against legislation,” (Copley First Amendment Center) (2).  A more simple definition of the right to petition, is “the right to present requests to the government without punishment or reprisal.  This right is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution” (History Central, 1).

Looking at the specific definition of the word petition, as it relates to the freedom of petition and the First Amendment, the word can be used to describe “any nonviolent, legal means of encouraging or disapproving government action, whether directed to the judicial, executive or legislative branch.  Lobbying, letter-writing, e-mail campaigns, testifying before tribunals, filing lawsuits, supporting referenda, collecting signatures for ballot initiatives, peaceful protests and picketing: all public articulation of issues, complaints and interests designed to spur government action qualifies under the petition clause…” (Copley First Amendment Center) (1).


Historic Roots

The actual concept of petitioning the government is said to reach at least as far back as the Magna Carta, one of the first documented formal legal systems that was composed by Kingdom of England in 1215.  In the Magna Carta (as translated into modern English), it states, “If we, our chief justice, our officials, or any of our servants offend in any respect against any man, or transgress any of the articles of the peace or of this security, and the offence is made known to four of the said twenty-five barons, they shall come to us - or in our absence from the kingdom to the chief justice—to declare it and claim immediate redress.” In other words, although the power was only granted to the 25 barons elected by the King, these barons still had the authority to petition the Kingdom if they felt injustices were being imposed (British Library, 1).  Later, this right to petition was further confirmed in the English Declaration of Rights, written in 1689, which states that subjects of the King are entitled to petition the King without fear of prosecution (Copley First Amendment Center) (1).

Drawing from these historical documents, the framers of the United States Constitution added the Bill of Rights to the Constitution in 1789, which contained the first ten Amendments of the Constitution.  James Madison composed the First Amendment, which contains the clause regarding the right to petition government that we refer to today. 


Importance

The right to petition our Government, though often overlooked in comparison with the other freedoms listed in the First Amendment, is nonetheless a very significant right that we have in this country.  This right grants people not only the freedom to stand up and speak out against injustices they feel are occurring, but also grants the power to help change those injustices. 

The right to petition government is a freedom that has been firmly upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States on countless occasions, proving that it is considered an inalienable right by the U.S. Government.  During the civil rights movement, for example, the Supreme Court upheld the rights of several groups of individuals protesting segregation at public institutions such as libraries and schools, and ruled that these citizens had every right to express their rights under the petition clause.

Further, the act of petitioning by citizens has also resulted in the change of certain practices.  This can be seen quite commonly in situations involving environmental practices, and has resulted in victories for many environmental activists and organizations.  For example, Oceana, an international organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of the world’s oceans, recently joined with over 100,000 citizens to sign a petition protesting the practice of long hook fishing in many areas of the Atlantic.  The practice had resulted in the accidental catching and often death of many non-targeted populations, including certain endangered species of sea mammals, turtles and birds.  As a result of the petition, a Federal judge banned the long-line fishing in many areas in order to protect these endangered as well as other ocean species (Oceana Organization).

Because several voices are always louder than one, the right to petition is a valuable tool to citizens in that they can join together to speak out for issues they feel are important to them. 


Ties to the Nonprofit/Philanthropic Sector

As mentioned above, several voices are always louder than one.  With this in mind, the way for citizens to petition the government in an effective way is to join together for a common cause, gaining as many people and as much support as possible. 

The nonprofit community plays an active role in petitioning government by providing an organized medium to join citizens together in support of causes or in petition of practices that violate their cause.  If one person alone were to attempt to find hundreds of others to join him/her in a petition against a certain government practice, for example, it would likely take that person a long time to find the number of people needed to really make an impact in their petition.  However, if that individual joined with a nonprofit organization with members who also supported the same cause, together they could make a significant difference should they choose to petition a government practice.

In addition, citizens can provide financial support to these organizations as a way of exercising their support, knowing that their donations help to fund the protection, and if necessary, petition in support or defense of their cause.  For example, the Environmental Defense Organization is an organization whose purpose is to protect human health, restore ecosystems and curb global warming.  Citizens who feel strongly about these issues can get involved with this nonprofit organization through the donation of time and/or money, and as a large group, this organization can have a heavy impact when it does exercise its petitioning rights.  (Environmental Defense Organization)


Key Related Ideas

Bill of Rights:  This document was composed by United States Forefathers.  It contains the first ten amendments of the United States Constitution. The First Amendment states the right to petition as one of its five listed freedoms in which all citizens are entitled. Petition Clause is the formal name for the right to petition as referred to in the First Amendment. Freedom of Petition is a more common term used to describe the right to petition.

Government Response:  It is important to note that in response to a petition from a citizen or citizens, the government is not required to actually respond or address the issue.  Under the Petition Clause, the Government is only required to provide a way for
citizens to petition, and a method in which they will receive the petition (Copley First Amendment Center) (1).

SLAAP Suits stands for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.  These lawsuits are sometimes filed against citizens for speaking about against certain issues in front of public councils such as school boards and city councils.  As outlined in the Petition Clause, lawsuits against the public for exercising their right to petition is considered unconstitutional, and these lawsuits are regularly overturned in the United States Court System (ibid.).


Important People Related to This Topic

  • James Madison (1751-1836):  As the writer of the First Amendment, James Madison is responsible for creating the right to petition.  James Madison was born in Virginia in 1751.  In the 1780’s he worked with the other creators of the U.S. Constitution such as Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton to create the Constitution.  From 1809-1817, Madison served as the fourth president to the United States.

     
  • The Justices of the United States Supreme Court:  There are 9 Supreme Court Justices, whose names have been constantly changing over the past two hundred years as Justices retire and others take office.  As members of the highest court in the United States, the Supreme Court Justices have been responsible for interpreting the Constitution as it applies to the laws created by the Legislative and Executive branches of the US Government. The decisions they have written in the court cases involving the right to petition uphold its importance and citizen’s rights to actively participate in the government process.


Related Nonprofit Organizations

  • The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nationally recognized organization, founded in 1920, that has assisted many groups and citizens in exercising their constitutional right to petition.  As explained on their Web site,  “The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty. We work daily in courts,  legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and  liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws  of the United States.  Our job is to conserve America's original civic values - the  Constitution and the Bill of Rights” (www.aclu.org).
     
  • Environmental Defense Network (EDN) is a leading national nonprofit organization whose purpose is, as stated on their web site, to “fight to protect human health, restore our oceans and ecosystems, and curb global warming.” They were founded in 1967 and have petitioned against many injustices towards the environment resulting in significant legislation.  They now have over 400,000 members (www.environmentaldefense.org). 
     
  • The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is a national nonprofit who defends equal treatment and representation for the Gay and Lesbian Community.  They have initiated many petitions against current government practices through actions such as parades, conferences, and written petitions (www.glaad.org). 
     
  • We the People is a nonprofit organization created in 1997. Their purpose and mission is to “protect, preserve and enhance the unalienable rights, liberties and freedoms of the people.”  Keeping this purpose in mind, We The People has initiated many petitions, specifically against political practices (www.givemeliberty.org).


Bibliography and Internet Sources

  • British Library. The Text of the Magna Carta. https://www.bl.uk/magna-carta.
  • Copley First Amendment Center. (1).  Court Cases. http://www.illinoisfirstamendmentcenter.com/Main.asp?SectionID=8.
  • Copley First Amendment Center.  (2). History of the First Amendment.  http://www.illinoisfirstamendmentcenter.com/Main.asp?SectionID=16.
  • Environmental Defense Organization. Environmental Defense Organization. https://www.edf.org/.
  • First Amendment Center. Petition Overview. https://www.newseum.org/.
  • First Amendment Center. Petition FAQs. https://www.freedomforuminstitute.org/first-amendment-center/.
  • History Central. U.S. Civic Terms. https://www.historycentral.com/Civics/f.html.
  • Oceana. Success Stories. https://oceana.org/index.cfm?sectionID=2.

 

This paper was developed by a student taking a Philanthropic Studies course taught at Grand Valley State University. It is offered by Learning To Give and Grand Valley State University.

Источник: https://www.learningtogive.org/resources/right-petition-government

First Amendment Facts 

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The First Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted in 1791. It is part of the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments.

It protects the freedom of speech, religion, and the press. It also gives citizens the right to peaceful protest and to petition the government.

Many U.S. states would not approve the Constitution until these basic rights were included.

first-us-government

What does the First Amendment say?

“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.”

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech gives U.S. citizens the right to express themselves freely. People can share their opinions without worrying about the government interfering.

Over the years, the U.S. Supreme Court has had a hard time deciding what speech is protected and what speech isn’t protected.

For example, obscene material is typically not protected. Speech that will provoke harm to others is also not protected.

But it’s difficult to decide what counts as “obscene” and what words may truly lead to dangerous actions.

Freedom of the Press

Freedom of the press gives people the right to express themselves in publications like newspapers, magazines, online, on television broadcasts, etc.

The Founding Fathers believed that a free press could protect against tyranny and dictatorships. They also thought it could advance human understanding of the arts, sciences, and humanities.

founding fathers

There are limits to the freedom of the press. For instance, libel is not allowed. Libel means false statements that may damage someone’s reputation.

Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion means that the government can’t endorse one religion as the national religion. All citizens of the United States can practice any religion they choose, or they can choose not to practice religion at all.

This amendment also establishes the separation of church and state.

This freedom was extremely important to the Founding Fathers because many of the people who first came to America did so in order to have religious freedom.

Right to Assemble and Petition

American citizens have the right to protest the government. They can peacefully assemble or gather in groups to discuss political, social, and economic issues. They may also gather for religious purposes.

In addition, people have the right to sign petitions or even to sue the government.

petition

Court Cases

One of the first major First Amendment court cases was Schenk v. United States in 1919. Charles Schenck was an activist who was convicted for passing out flyers that encouraged young men to dodge the draft during World War I.

He argued that his freedom of speech was protected. However, the Supreme Court ruled against Schenck.

They said that in this case, his free speech presented a “clear and present danger.” Encouraging soldiers to dodge the draft was a threat to national security.

Another famous case is Texas v. Johnson, which took place in 1990. A man named Gregory Lee Johnson protested President Ronald Reagan by burning an American flag in Dallas, Texas.

A Texas court ruled that Johnson had broken the law by destroying the flag. In a controversial decision, the Supreme Court overturned the ruling. They said that Johnson was protected by his First Amendment rights.

At the time, Texas and 47 other states had laws saying that flag burning was illegal. The Supreme Court ruling invalidated these laws.

flag-burning-illegal

Other Interesting Facts About the First Amendment

People who supported the Constitution were called Federalists. People who did not support it were called Antifederalists.

The Antifederalists felt that the Constitution didn’t give enough rights to the states or to individuals. To compromise, the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment were written.

The First Amendment was written by James Madison (along with the rest of the Bill of Rights).

The First Amendment does not protect people from getting fired from a job for saying something offensive or inappropriate. It does not protect plagiarism or encouraging someone to commit a crime.

first-amendment

There is often confusion over whether students have First Amendment rights at school. The Supreme Court has said students “do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression at the schoolhouse gates.”

So yes, you do have your First Amendment rights at school!

However, the courts allow school officials to regulate student expression that disrupts the school environment or invades the rights of other students.

Many state constitutions also protect freedom of speech. Some states have adopted laws that provide even greater protection for freedom of speech.

US Government

Источник: https://www.coolkidfacts.com/first-amendment-facts/

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