First Amendment Paper


First Amendment
Lynda Davis
September 16, 2012
Nort Seever

The word “privacy” is not mentioned in the Constitution, although the Constitution does strongly imply the right to privacy. The right to privacy is evident in the first 10 amendments. The First Amendment protects the right to private individual worship regarding religion. Freedom of speech and freedom of press are also protected in the First Amendment. There have been many cases regarding the First Amendment. Freedom of Religion

In Saratoga Springs, N.Y. a kindergarten girl named, Kayla Broadus held two of her classmate’s hands and recited a prayer.”God is good; God is great, thank you, God, for my food.” A teacher reprimanded Kayla, and she was sent to the principal, who sent a letter home to Kayla’s parents informing them that she could not pray in school, aloud, or with others. The school was proud of their accomplishment and issued a press release. Kayla’s mother brought a lawsuit against the school and won. Kayla was allowed to pray aloud but still could not hold hands with others while praying (Free to Pray,

Today, the schools observe a moment of silence, where students can pray. Prayer and the talk of religion may be in the schools as long as it is brought on from the students not the staff.
In Murray v. Curlett, also known as “School Prayer” – 1963, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, an atheist, filed a suit against a Baltimore school board for allowing prayer in school. The local court as well as the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled to dismiss the petition because “neither the first nor the Fourteenth Amendment was intended to stifle all rapport between religion and government.” The case was brought before the United States Supreme Court where the previous rulings were overturned and schools were forced to remove both prayers and bible readings. Atheism is recognized by the government as a religion. Justice Tom Clark wrote about the government needing to stay neutral. Yet by the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Madalyn O’Hair, an Atheist, they showed favoritism 3

in regards to one religion and failed to stay neutral. Still to this day prayers and bible readings are not allowed in public schools (Exploring Constitutional Conflicts). Freedom of Press
In 1987, a group of students filed a lawsuit against their school, Hazelwood East High School. They were suing the school because the school would not allow them to print two articles in the school newspaper. The school principal found the two articles to be inappropriate for school. One article was about three pregnant students and their experiences. The principal claimed the article was inappropriate because of the references to sexual activity and birth control. The second article was about a student who believed her parent’s divorce was her father’s fault. The principal believed this article did not give the father a chance to tell his side. In this case the Supreme Court ruled that the school had the right to censor the school newspaper and the students First Amendment rights were not violated. The school newspaper is not considered a place for public expression, so school officials can regulate what can be printed in the school paper. School papers still have censorship today. (Supreme Court laws. Find Law) In the case of Cox Broadcasting Corporation v. Cohn, the television station broadcasted the name of a seventeen-year old girl who was raped and killed in Georgia. They obtained the information from the public records. Georgia had a privacy statute, which kept the names and identities of rape victims from being publicized in the media. The court found that the Georgia statute was a violation of the Constitution. Justice White recognized the importance of the freedom of privacy and press but also identified reasons the press could not be restricted. First, citizens use the news media to scrutinize government proceedings. Public has...
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