One Nation Under God
1. Purpose of Constitution- to recognize that all men are created equal – to acknowledge that we have God-given unalienable rights (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness)- to protect these rights by declaring that the government derives its power from the people – to limit the government’s authority and power
2. First Amendment to the U.S. ConstitutionCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
3. What is NOT protected speech?- inciting immediate violence (“fighting words”)- obscenity – defamation (libel or slander)- harassment
4. Free Speech Forums
Quintessential Public Forum: side walks, parks, etc.- can regulate time, place, and manner- speech restrictions given strict scrutiny
Limited or Designated Public Forum: municipal auditoriums, public university student centers, etc. – can regulate time, place, and manner- may impose restrictions if there is a “compelling state interest”
Nonpublic Forum: courthouses, municipal building lobbies, etc.- may restrict contents of speech as long as restrictions are reasonable and do not discriminate
5. Texas v. Johnson – Supreme Court 1989If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the Government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.
6. Settle v. Dickson – 6th Circuit 1995Free speech rights of students in the classroom must be limited because effective education depends…on maintaining the focus of the class on the assignment…learning is more vital in the classroom than free speech…it is not for [The Court] to overrule the teacher’s view that the student should learn to write research papers by beginning with a topic other than her own theology.
7. Gilles v. Davis – 3rd Circuit 2005Gilles’ speech was rude, mocking, confrontational, and insulting…many in the crowd were upset and angry with Gilles.
8. Please have a slide with Texas v. Johnson (#5) and Gilles v. Davis (#7) side by side.
9. Future of Free Speech in Social Media Era
Prager U v. Google – YouTube is private and First Amendment free speech rights are NOT protected Knight First Amendment Inst. at Columbia Univ. v. Trump – Twitter is designated public forum, therefore First Amendment free speech rights ARE protected
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