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The First Amendment


The First Amendment ' ... The First Amendment tells the government to keep its 'hands off' our religion, ... Does the First Amendment protect the right to wear ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The First Amendment

The First Amendment
  • 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.

First Principles
  • The First Amendment affirms the freedom of the
  • Free expression is the foundation the
    cornerstone of democracy.
  • The First Amendment tells the government to keep
    its hands off our religion, our ideas, our
    ability to express ourselves.
  • Other people have rights, too.
  • When rights collide, government must balance
  • The First Amendment helps us make choices.

Which of the following types of clothing are
protected forms of student expression?
The Tinker StandardTinker v. Des Moines
Independent School Dist. (1969)
  • Student speech cannot be censored as long as it
    does not materially disrupt class work or
    involve substantial disorder or invasion of the
    rights of others.

Heritage or Hate?
Split Opinions
  • School officials are not required to wait until
    disorder or invasion occurs. They merely need
    the existence of facts which might reasonably
    lead school officials to forecast substantial
  • --Phillips v. Anderson School District, 1997
    (South Carolina)
  • The plaintiffs wore the shirts to express a
    certain viewpoint and that viewpoint was easily
    ascertainable by an observer. . . . . The
    school board enforced the dress code in an uneven
    and viewpoint-specific manner, thereby violating
    core values of the First Amendment.
  • --Castorina v. Madison County School Board, 2001

Liberals Suck??!?
The Fraser StandardBethel School District No.
403 v. Fraser (1986)
  • Because school officials have an interest in
    teaching students the boundaries of socially
    appropriate behavior, they can censor student
    speech that is vulgar or indecent, even if it
    does not cause a material or substantial

Fashion Style or Political Statement?
  • Does the First Amendment protect the right to
    wear baggy pants?
  • If youre trying to make a political statement,
    does it matter if other people get it?

The Message Matters
  • (Bivens v. Albuquerque Public Schools, 1995)
  • A reasonable observer would not find a
    particularized message in sagging pants.
  • "Sagging is not necessarily associated with a
    single racial or cultural group, and sagging is
    seen by some merely as a fashion trend followed
    by many adolescents all over the United States."

Is there a difference between Gay and Straight
Tinkering with Tinker?
  • Harper v. Poway School District
  • (9th Circuit, 2006)
  • A school may regulate student speech that would
    impinge upon the rights of other students.
    Public school students who may be injured by
    verbal assaults on the basis of a core
    identifying characteristic such as race, religion
    or sexual orientation, have a right to be free
    from such attacks while on school campuses.
  • -- Judge Stephen Reinhardt (majority)
  • I have considerable difficulty with giving
    school authorities the power to decide that only
    one side of a controversial topic may be
    discussed in the school environment because the
    opposing point of view is too extreme or
  • -- Judge Alex Kozinski (dissent)
  • Hansen v. Ann Arbor Public Schools
  • (E.D. Michigan, 2003)
  • This case presents the ironic, and unfortunate,
    paradox of a public high school celebrating
    diversity by refusing to permit the
    presentation to students of an unwelcomed
    viewpoint on the topic of homosexuality and
    religion, while actively promoting the competing
  • --The Honorable Gerald E. Rosen

The Three Rs of the First Amendment
  • Rights -- Individual (Each of us is born with
    certain inalienable rights)
  • Responsibilities -- Mutual (Each of us must
    accept the responsibility to guard the rights of
    others -- especially those with whom we most
    deeply disagree)
  • Respect -- Universal (Each of us must commit to
    debate out differences with respect