First amendment made in 1791: congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of
speech, or of press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to and petition the
government for a redress of grievances.
John peter zenger trial 1734: first amendment type case. Was a publisher of a
newspaper/printed a letter of the opinion of the british royal governor british made it a
law to not criticize a king or his officals so he was arrested and put o trial. Everyone
involved in case was british. They find him not guilty because he was entiltied to his own
opinion. His letter couldn’t be proven right or wrong. suducious libal.
14th amendment: all persons born or naturalized in the us and subject to the jurisdiction
thereof are citizens of the us and of the state wherein they reside. No shate shall make or
enforce any law which shall abridge the privleges or immunities of citizens of the us or
shall any state deprived any person.
1787: constitution written
1789: constitution ratified
Levels of protected speech
1. political expression: highest protection (courts cant interfere)
2. commercial speech: less protection ( commercial must state facts or side effects
for example of drugs)
3. obscene material, false advertising, fighting words: not protected ( government
can take action during or after speech)
Does every have the same 1st amendment rights
1. adults have the most amendment rights
2. public university students (apart of government)
3. private university students (npt apart of government)
4. media organizations
5. government employees
6. high school students ( such as slogans on t shirts)
7. non media companies
8. least amendment rights prisoners
Applying the first amendment
- is government action involved?
- Does government interfere with activity that is expressive?
- does the expresson fit an unprotected category?
- Does the expression fot moderately protected category of truthful commercial speech or
content neutral regulation?