First Amendment Paper

Topics: Supreme Court of the United States, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, United States Pages: 4 (1399 words) Published: February 16, 2011
First Amendment Paper
The First Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is our rights as citizens living in the United States of America. In this paper I will look at three provisions to the First Amendment, highlighting one case for each provision. Included are one case to discuss freedom of speech, one case to discuss separation of church and state and one case to discuss freedom of association. 1.)Discuss at least one Supreme Court case of significance related to three of the provisions of the First Amendment. Case number 1: Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971), this was a United States Supreme Court case dealing with freedom of speech. The United States Supreme Court overturned a disturbing the peace conviction by a man who exited a courthouse wearing a jacket decorated with profanity. On April 26, 1968, Paul Robert Cohen was 19 at the time of his arrest outside a Los Angeles courthouse wearing a jacket decorated with profanity. His jacket had the words “F@%k the Draft.” Cohen was arrested for maliciously and willfully disturbing the peace or quiet by any person or a neighborhood. a.)Why did this case have to be heard and interpreted by the Supreme Court? Paul Robert Cohen was found guilty of disturbing the peace at a Los Angeles Courthouse. Cohen’s lawyers appealed and the conviction stood its ground in the California Court of Appeal. The California Supreme Court denied review, the United States Supreme Court granted to review and argue the case. The Court’s decision was in favor of Paul Robert Cohen by a vote of 5-4 and overturned the appellate court’s ruling. According to Justice John Marshall Harlan II “the state may not, consistently with the First and Fourteenth Amendments, make the simple public of this single four-letter expletive a criminal offense.” (Cohen v. California, docket #: 299, 1971). b.)How do the Supreme Court decisions in each case continue to affect the rights of American Citizens today? Cohen v....

References: Balter-Reitz, S. (2003). Free Speech on Trial: Communication Perspectives on Landmark Supreme Court Decisions. Tuscaloosa: University Alabama Press.
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