THE AMENDMENTS ARE HERE

Isaac Leifert

The First Amendment

The First Amendment's words are as follows: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion 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.

Explanation

This political cartoon shows that although this is one of the most important amendments, its meaning is not widely known.

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech gives us the right to express ourselves. There have been a few controversies in history on freedom of speech because of its vague diameters. The restrictions on the right to free speech are that what is said, cannot be harmful or cause harm. A famous person who utilized the right to free speech for his benefit is Martin Luther King, Jr.

Court Case

Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47, 39 S.Ct. 247, 63 L.Ed.2d. (1919): Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes stated in this case his famous aphorism about "falsely shouting fire in a theater" and set forth a "clear and present danger test" to judge whether speech is protected by the First Amendment. "The question," he wrote, "is whether the words are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the things that Congress has the right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree." The Supreme Court affirmed the convictions of the defendants for conspiring to violate certain federal statutes by attempting to incite subordination in the armed forces and interfere with recruitment and enlistment. During wartime, the defendants mailed to new recruits and enlisted men leaflets that compared military conscription to involuntary servitude and urged them to assert constitutional rights.

Opinion

My opinion on freedom of speech is that people should be allowed to express themselves and their beliefs but people should not be able to say things that may physically or mentally harm others.

FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

Freedom of the Press

The freedom of the press allows newspapers and newscasts to publish what they want. Another part of this section of the constitution deals with prior restraint. Prior restraint states that the government cannot hold back information from being published.

Court Case

In 1931, in Near vs. Minnesota, the Court ruled that a Minnesota law that targeted publishers of "malicious" or "scandalous" newspapers violated the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This means that the court decided that the state of Minnesota was restraining the freedom of the press.

Opinion

My opinion on freedom of the press is that the press should be able to publish what they want and the government can remove information after it is published. I think that the governments current rules on the freedom of the press are adequate.

FREEDOM OF RELIGION

Freedom of Religion

This allows people to practice whatever religion they desire. In England, it used to be that you could only be a certain religion.

Court Case

Not too long ago, a major disagreement arose. A group of Muslim Americans wanted to build a mosque in downtown Manhattan. Many people disliked this because the location where they wanted to build the sanctuary is very close to Ground Zero and since the Muslims were the cause of 9/11. However, despite much protesting, New York Mayor Bloomberg decided that it would go against the first amendment right to religion if he forbid that the Muslim Americans build their mosque, therefore he allowed them to build their mosque. Today, the eye-catching building, Park51, stands 13 stories tall.

Opinion

My opinion on freedom of religion is that just how people should be able to express themselves, they should be able to practice whatever religion they desire. I feel that Mayor Bloomberg made the right choice on allowing the mosque to be built.
The People Behind The Mosque

Right to Assemble and Petition

Right to Assemble and Petition

The right to assemble and petition provides people with the ability to form a group and have meetings. Also, it allows people to protest and petition for raises, better work conditions, etc.

Court Case

De Jonge vs. Oregon (1937): De Jonge was convicted for conducting a public meeting under the auspices of the Communist Party. De Jonge had not advocated any illegal activity or criminal doctrine. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed his conviction as unnecessarily restrictive of his freedom of speech and right of peaceable assembly. The high court's ruling applied the right of peaceable assembly and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. And put these rights on equal footing with freedom of speech and the press. "Peaceable assembly for lawful discussion cannot be made a crime. The holding of meetings for peaceable political action cannot be proscribed."

Opinion

I think that people should have the right to petition and assemble unless they are petitioning or assembling for something that goes against a federal/state law, or if they are planning to do harm to someone or something.

AMENDMENT 2

The Right to Bear Arms

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Interpretation

My interpretation of the second amendment is that the people have the right to own and have guns.

Proposal of the Gun Ban

Recently, President Obama has proposed a gun ban on assault weapons to congress. This proposed gun ban will ban most rifles, shotguns, and pistols if passed.

Opinion

The second amendment was not written with the intention of citizens having AK-47s. In fact, the founders had no way of knowing that weapons like this would ever be created. Although I believe that citizens have a right to choose whether or not they want to own a weapon, I also believe that the second amendment should be altered to better fit the needs of today's society.

Isaac Leifert