First Amendment Overview

Mitchell, Wisconsin v.
February 2003
Supreme Court Debates;Feb2003, Vol. 6 Issue 2, p36
The article presents an overview of the first amendment to the United States constitution which provides that the U.S. Congress shall make no law in which the court outlines exceptions to free speech recognition. It restricts all branches of federal, state and local government. The first amendment permits the U.S. government to prohibit offensive speech as intrusive when the captive audience cannot avoid the objectionable speech. The article highlights amendments made by the court in various cases regarding content-based restrictions on speech. In Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, the court sustained a conviction under a statute proscribing any offensive, derisive, or annoying word addressed to any person in public as fighting words having the tendency to cause acts of violence. Other judgments were related to time, place and manner restrictions and symbolic speech.


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