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Journalism & Communication
Pages 3 (753 words)
The First Amendment Protects Free Speech Name Instructor Class Date The First Amendment does protect free speech. More precisely, it protects a person’s legal right to express their opinions freely without fear of government intervention. The Constitutional right extends solely to government attempts of suppressing speech not corporations, organizations or individuals.
Speech, as defined by the Constitution is not limited to the spoken word. It can be an expression or idea. Symbolic speech, as it is often referred to, includes various types of nonverbal communications such as peaceful protests, campaign signs in the front yard and burning the American flag. Yes, burning the flag is a legal expression of free speech. The Supreme Court, through years of rulings, has clearly defined the parameters of free speech. For example in 1969 Brandenburg v. Ohio case the Court ruled that government could not forbid speech that encourages subversive or illegal activity unless that “advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” (Brandenburg v. Ohio, 1969) Using Brandenburg as precedent the Supreme Court ruled the government could not prosecute a Vietnam draft dodger who said “if they ever make me carry a rifle, the first man I want in my sights is L.B.J.” in Watts v. U.S. (1969). ...
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