1st and 2nd Amendment

Topics: Supreme Court of the United States, United States Constitution, United States Bill of Rights Pages: 5 (1723 words) Published: January 26, 2010
The First and Second Amendments of the United States Constitution On September 25, 1789, The Bill Of Rights was submitted to the states for approval, based on the previous Constitution's insufficient assurances for civil freedom, liberties and justice. Concerned that the Constitution neglected to clearly state the basic civil rights of the citizens of the United States, Anti- Federalists opposed the Articles of Confederations, which gave state governments more authority (“Bill of Rights, n.d.). As a result the first tem amendments commonly known as The Bill of Rights was approved by congress in 1791, undeniably guaranteeing citizens of The United States essential and important rights. The 1st and 2nd amendments are perhaps the most predominant, dominant sections of the Bill of Rights. The following essay will explain the contents of the 1st and 2nd amendments; it will also examine and analyze current controversies relating to the two amendments. The 1st amendment of the Constitution granted citizens of the United States a prestige award by “prohibiting Congress from making any 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”. (“First Amendment” n.d.). As a result of these, paramount ratifications’ Americans were granted five key components which include the freedom of religion, speech, press, peaceful assembly and the right to petition the government. The 1st amendment includes many privileges’ and protections for the citizens of America for example it prohibits congress from establishing a national religion or showing preference of one religion over another. The next clause in the Amendment is the freedom to freely practice one’s religious beliefs. The Amendment also adds the freedom of speech which entitles Americans the ability to freely express their opinion on government policies, oppositions of the nation’s policies and much more. American’s were also granted the freedom of press which enabled them to freely post and express their opinions and idea to the public, the first amendment also approved the freedom to petition the government showing disapproval on political matters along with the right to hold a peace assembly . These landmark rights maybe considered the greatest privileges an American holds and are tested through legal cases. A great example is found in an important case which tested the freedom of religion clause of the Constitution was the case of Vitale vs. Engel in 1962. In this case the Supreme Court decided that it was unconstitutional to have an educator guide prayer in school, because it conflicted with the Establishment Clause in the First amendments. (“Engel v” 1962.). Another case which tested the establishment case is the case of Van Orden v. Perry is another example of the separation of church and state in this case Thomas Van Orden bought suit against the state of Texas, due to his opposition of a monument of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the state capitol building. Orden felt that the monument represented an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion; he argued it went against the 1st constitution and violated the establishment clause. The Supreme Court ruled against Orden in this case and found that the monument did not violate the establishment clause and determined the monument as a historic statement and not a religious endorsement. (Rehnquist, 2005). A more recent example of the protection of individual’s rights under the 1st amendment involves the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act which controls the financing of political campaigns. In the case of Davis v. Federal Election Commission, Jack Davis a wealthy New York politician who challenged and brings suit against the Federal Election Commission’s due to his opposition of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act arguing that...

References: Davis v. Federal Election Commission (2008) Retrieved October 11, 2009 from U.S Supreme Court Media Oyez http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2007/2007_07_320
Engel v Vitale. (1962). Retrieved October 13, 2009, from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engel_v._Vitale
First Amendment to the United States Constitution (n.d.) October 11, 2009 from Wikipedia
Retrieved April 9, 2007, from http://straylight.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/03
The New York Times Co. v. Gonzales (2006) Retrieved October 14, 2009 from Likelihood of Confusion http://www.likelihoodofconfusion.com/?page_id=553
United States Bill of Rights
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