Are there any First Amendment lawyers in the audience?
At the suggestion of reader Ray Bosch, here is the text of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States:
"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."
And here's a brief explanation of what it means, from the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School.
This overview notes that freedom of speech and of the press has been extended by the Supreme Court to the entire Federal government and also to State governments, but it doesn't immediately address who else, outside of the government, might legally restrict speech. For instance, what right do colleges have to restrict free speech or the freedom of the press on their campuses? I don't know. Can anyone explain?*
(Thanks to Ray)
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Featured Comments from:
Anders: "The general rule was set out by the U.S. Supreme Court in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 US 503 (1969). Tinker says school administrators cannot punish students for speech that does not cause a substantial disruption to the operation of the school. Student journalist rights are limited by Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 US 260 (1988), which allows censorship of school-sponsored media that is not designated as a public forum for student expression."
Edward Taylor: "It is also important to note that the First Amendment does not guarantee no consequences for your speech. It just means there will be no government sanctions (with notable exceptions). A private business is permitted to fire you for what you say. You can be sued for slander for what you say, etc. The government cannot jail you for what you say or restrict what you say, again, with some exceptions."