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  • 1. First Amendment Rights
    • Freedom of Speech
    • Freedom of Religion
    • Freedom of the Press
    • Freedom of Expression
    • Freedom to Peaceably Assemble
  • 2. Freedom of Speech Schenck v US (1919) - Schenck was charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 by passing out pamphlets to all male citizens urging them not to register for the draft. -The act made it a crime to willfully cause or obstruct the draft effort. -Schenck claimed his actions were protected by the 1st Amendment. Facts:
  • 3. Issue: Whether Schenck’s 1st Amendment rights to free speech were violated when he was convicted of obstructing the draft. Decision: The Court upheld Schenck’s conviction. The Court reasoned that Schenck’s speech presented a “clear and present danger” to US national security. Schenck’s speech could hinder the draft.
  • 4. Freedom of Religion: Engle v Vitale (1962) Facts: - The school district of New Hyde Park, NY, instructed its schools to have schools recite a NYS Regents-composed prayer at the beginning of each school day. -Parents challenged this policy believing that the prayer was contrary to their religious beliefs. -The Parents also felt that the 1st Amendments separation of church and state provision was violated with the prayer -The school contended that the prayer was non-denominational and not compulsory.
  • 5. The Prayer ''Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.''
  • 6. Issue: Whether a non-denominational prayer violated the 1st Amendment’s provision for separation of church and state. Decision: The SC found that the school district violated the students’ 1st Amendment rights. Even though students did not have to say the prayer, undue pressure would be placed upon students with the recitation of the prayer in class. Furthermore, the prayer was too religious.
  • 7. Silent, Symbolic Speech: Tinker v Desmoines (1969) Facts: - In December 1965, The Tinkers planned to wear black arm bands to school to signify their protest of the Vietnam War. -School official attempted to pass a regulation before hand to ban such displays. If students failed to comply, they could be suspended. -The Tinkers challenged the rule and were suspended. The - Tinkers claimed their right to free speech was violated and they should be allowed to return to school.
  • 8. Issue: Whether the Tinker’s have a 1st Amendment right to wear black armbands as a protest symbol in a public school. Decision: The Court decided that as long as the silent, symbolic speech did not substantially interfere with the educational process, wearing black arm bands was constitutionally protected
  • 9. Freedom of the Press
    • Historical Background---Peter Zenger Trial
    • New York Times v US (1971)-The Government cannot prevent the publishing of the truth about government activities
    • Led to Freedom of Information Act (1990s)