Reflections on the First Amendment

Reflections on the First Amendment
On December 15th, 1971, the first X amendments to the Constitution went into affect. The first X amendments to the constitution were known as the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment was written by James Madison because the American people were demanding a guarantee of their freedom. The First Amendment was put into place to protect American’s freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly and freedom of petition. The First Amendment was written as follows;
“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.” (First Amendment Center, 2008)
The First Amendment Center conducts a national annual survey on the First Amendment. “Americans clearly have mixed views of what First Amendment freedoms are and to whom they should fully apply. To me the results of this year’s survey endorse the idea of more and better education for young people - our nation’s future leaders - about our basic freedoms.” (Gene Policinski, VP and executive director of the First Amendment Center 2007) The Supreme Court of the United States has the highest authority in the Judicial Branch and is the third branch of government. The function of the Supreme Court is to interpret the Constitution. The Supreme Court looks at federal and state statues and executive actions to determine if they comply with the United States Constitution. On the Supreme Court, there are nine justices that hear cases that have been appealed through the justice system. When the Supreme Court rules in a case that is the last and final ruling for the defendant. One case that was brought to the United States Supreme court was the Cohen vs. California case. In this case, freedom of speech was the issue to be addressed in conjunction with the first



References: Unknown Author (2008) “The First Amendment Center” About the First Amendment Retrieved on March 1st, 2008 from http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/about.aspx?item=about_firstamd Fanning, Karen (2005). Are you a good citizen? What are your rights and responsibilities as a citizen of the United States? The Free Library. (2005). Retrieved March 03, 2008 from http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Are you a good citizen? What are your rights and responsibilities as...-a0137097600 Herbeck, Tedford (2007). Boston College: Freedom of Speech in the United States (fifth edition) Cohen vs. California 403 U.S. 15 Retrieved on March 2, 2008 from http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/comm/free_speech/cohen.html Herbeck, Tedford (2007). Boston College: Freedom of Speech in the United States (fifth edition) Zacchini vs. Scripps-Howard Broadcasting Company 433 U.S. 562 Retrieved on March 2, 2008 from http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/comm/free_speech/zacchini.html Unknown Author (1966-2008). Justia U.S. Supreme Court Center Brown vs. Louisiana, 383 U.S. 131 Retrieved on March 2, 2008 from http://supreme.justia.com/us/383/131/case.html

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