May 29, 2011
Kenneth Johnston University of Phoenix
Reflections on the First Amendment According to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, “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.” Consequently, citizens from different occupations often file legal challenges for court adjudication on perceived injustice. This paper focuses on numerous momentous cases related to three of the provisions of the First Amendment, namely freedom of speech, press, and religion. The cases as enumerated shortly represent such examples, in which citizens challenge social norms and seek for Supreme Court hearing or interpretation. In addition, the paper evaluates the rights and responsibilities that the Constitution gives American citizens.
Notable First Amendment Court Cases
John D. Ashcroft, Attorney General, et al. v. Free Speech Coalition, et al. (2002) The right to freedom of speech came under scrutiny in the case of John D. Ashcroft, Attorney General, et al. versus Free Speech Coalition, et al. in 2002. In this case, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Ninth Circuit's judgment against the plaintiff’s broader definition of pornography in enacting the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996. This broader definition, the court finds it in contravention with the First Amendment. The Ninth Circuit reasoned that the definition of banning any depiction of pornographic materials, including films that Congress adds on the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 was overboard and as such violated the First Amendment. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote: "First Amendment freedoms are most in danger
References: American Library Association: Notable First Amendment court cases: Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/firstamendment/courtcases/courtcases.cfm John W. Whitehead , May 16, 2011, Renewing the Patriot Act: Who Will Protect Us from Our Government?, Retrieved from http://www.rutherford.org/articles_db/commentary.asp?record_id=711 Patterson, T. E. (2009). The American democracy (9th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Sherbert v. Verner et al., Members of South Carolina Employment Security Commission, et al. (1963): Retrieved from http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/curiae/html/374-398/001.htm U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, First Amendment: Retrieved from http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights.html