Zywicki While many constitutional amendments have added to the rights held by Americans, changed the balance of power between the federal government and states, or altered elections for the President, the structure of Congress in the written Constitution has barely been touched since The only constitutional amendment to do so in a substantial way is the Seventeenth Amendment, which removed from state legislatures the power to choose U. Senators and gave that power directly to voters in each state.
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.
At first glance, the First Amendment appears to be written in clear, unequivocal, and facile terms: What kind of law "respect[s] the establishment of religion"?
Does the First Amendment include here only laws that would establish an official national religion, as the Anglican Church was established in England prior to the American Revolution? Or does it also include laws that recognize or endorse religious activities such as the celebration of Christmas?
More importantly, can people agree on what is meant by the word religion so that judges may know when religion is being "established" or when the right to its "free exercise" has been infringed?
In the area of free speech, does the right to speak your mind include the right to use offensive language that could start a fight or incite a riot? Is Freedom of Speech synonymous with freedom of expression, such that the right to condemn the U. Does Freedom of the Press protect the right to publish scurrilous, defamatory, and libelous material?
If not, can the government prohibit the publication of such material before it goes to print? Supreme Court has confronted most of these questions.
Its answers have not always produced unanimous, or even widespread, agreement around the United States. Freedom of Speech The Founding Fathers were intimately familiar with government suppression of political speech. Prior to the American Revolution, the Crown imprisoned, pilloried, mutilated, exiled, and even killed men and women who belonged to minority political parties in England, in order to extinguish dissenting views.
Many of these dissenters left England in search of more freedom in the New World, where they instead found colonial governments that stifled political dissidence with similar fervor.
Maryland, for example, passed a law prohibiting "all speeches, practices and attempts relating to [the British Crown], that shall be thought mutinous and seditious," and provided punishments that included whipping, branding, fines, imprisonment, Banishmentand death. The Free Speech Clause of the Constitution was drafted to protect such political dissenters from a similar fate in the newly founded United States.
In light of this background, the U. Supreme Court has afforded dissident political speech unparalleled constitutional protection. However, all speech is not equal under the First Amendment. The high court has identified five areas of expression that the government may legitimately restrict under certain circumstances.
These areas are speech that incites illegal activity and subversive speech, fighting words, Obscenity and Pornographycommercial speech, and symbolic expression.
The Court has also made clear that states cannot restrict the free speech rights of candidates for judicial office. Unlike federal judges, most state judges must stand for election.Law & Contemporary Problems; What the Framers Intended: A Linguistic Analysis of the Right To 'Bear Arms', by Stephen P.
Halbrook. For example, an historical literalist will see the militia of the 2nd Amendment as referring to all able-bodied men from 17 to 45, just as in the late 18th century, and this interpretation will color that person's reading of the 2nd Amendment.
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The Third Amendment (Amendment III) to the United States Constitution places restrictions on the quartering of soldiers in private homes without the owner's consent, forbidding the practice in peacetime. Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court..
We consider whether a District of Columbia prohibition on the possession of usable handguns in the home violates the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
I. The District of Columbia generally prohibits the possession of handguns. The new group pushed for a novel interpretation of the Second Amendment, one that gave individuals, not just militias, the right to bear arms.
It was an uphill struggle. At first, their views were.