Notes1 - First amendment First amendment protects four...

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First amendment First amendment protects four freedoms: Speech Press Right of the people peaceably by Freedom of speech: it prohibits thte government and those who exercise government authority from abridging freedom of speech. When a citizen claims that his or her First Amendment rights were violated, the court must decide two questions: 1. Was the claimant engaged in acgtivity protected by the frist amendment? 2. If so, did the officer’s conduct abridge the claimant’s freedom of speech? Is speech involved? The first amendment concept of speech includes the right to: 1. Receive info 2. Hold beliefs 3. Communicate them to others 4. Engage in ideological silence (moment of silence=prayer) 5. Engage in symbolic speech (burning of the flag) Message vs conduct The first amendment protection for a speakers conduct: People normally communicate by using spoken or written words. However, they sometimes combine their message with nonverbal conduct, such as marching on public streets, picketing, carrying signs, passing out handbills, etc. they may even use nonverbal conduct as a substitute for words, such as burning draft card or wearing a black armband. Nonverbal conduct used as a medium of expression in lieu of words is called “symbolic speech.” United States vs. O’Brien (draft-card burning case) established the controlling test for when laws regulating conduct may be applied to persons engaged in speech. The Supreme Court held that laws prohibiting conduct may be applied to persons engaed in speech when the law serves a substantial government interest that is not related to suppressing the speakers message. This rule applies whether the conduct accompanies or is a substitute for words. Conduct not protected The general laws of the community such as trespass breach of the peace, disorderly conduct, blocking a public passage, etc. may be applied to conduct that accompanies speech when the law furthers an important government interest that is unrelated to suppressing the speakers message. Cases Clark vs community for creative nonviolence- upholding application of law prohibiting camping in a public park to a group who wanted to hold a sleep-in demonstration to call attention to the plight of the nation’s poor) Texas vs Johnson (part 2) Johnson’s arrest under a flag desecration statute for engaging in symbolic speech (flag burning) violated his first amendment rights because the statue was directed at the speakers message (disrespect for American symbols) and his conduct (burning the flag he owned.) Schacht vs united states- (holding federal statue prohibiting wearing of the military uniforms in dramatic productions if the uniforms were worn under circumstances tending to discredit the armed forces unconstitutional on similar grounds.) Punishing speech because of the content or message Legislatures may not criminalize speech on a particular topic, unless speech falls within the small number of categories that have been excluded from first amendment protection. 1.
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Notes1 - First amendment First amendment protects four...

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