First Amendment

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads, “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.” In practical terms, the First Amendment prohibits the government, and officials acting on behalf of the government, from limiting anyone’s free expression. What seems like a simple rule is extremely nuanced. If all government restriction on speech were prohibited, things like libel or deceptive advertising could not be punished. Laws can punish speech that threatens or harasses on the premise that expression is protected, but actions are not. Regulations can be ...

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