Benefits Of The First Amendment

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Today, people are allowed to burn the American flag, cut out the state motto from their license plates, and advocate illegal activities without being convicted. The individuals who partook in those activities would be seen as convicted criminals, but the rights encrypted in the First Amendment protected them. However, numerous Americans believe that the First Amendment goes too far in the protections it promises. According to a survey by American Journalism Review, “49 percent said it gives us too much freedom, up from 39 percent last year and 22 percent in the year 2000” (Paulson 1). The First Amendment has also been criticized for its ability to allow the public display of offensive language. In fact, American Journalism Review discovered …show more content…
But besides Americans believing that there is too much freedom-of-expression in the First Amendment, the ideas and information that result from this document are far more beneficial. Through freedom-of-expression cases, people can learn that the First Amendment does not give Americans too much freedom, but it is an essential document that should not be taken for granted. Among the several freedom-of-expression cases, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan involved a full-page advertisement in the New York Times that claimed the arrest of Martin Luther King, Jr. for fabrication in Montgomery, Alabama. The use of this ad was intended to terminate King’s efforts to integrate public facilities and encourage African Americans to vote. Montgomery City Commissioner L.B. Sullivan filed a “libel action against the four individual petitioners, who are Negroes and Alabama clergymen, and against …show more content…
Barnette involved Jehovah’s Witnesses evoking the First Amendment to challenge one of West Virginia’s laws. A statute of West Virginia “required schoolchildren to recite the Pledge of Allegiance even if they (or their parents) objected to the Pledge’s content” (Alexander 150-151). West Virginia would allow no exceptions because the state believed that the law supported national unity, which is the foundation of national security. If the schoolchildren refused to salute the American flag or recite the Pledge of Allegiance, they could be expelled for their actions while “their parents faced imprisonment for violating compulsory education acts” (Abrams 32). The Barnette children, including their parents and other Jehovah’s Witnesses, “came to believe that the salute to the flag was a form of idolatry,” which symbolized worshipping an image that was prohibited in the scriptures that they followed (Peterson 760). Walter Barnette, the father of the Barnette sisters, decided to bring “suit in the United States District Court for themselves and others similarly situated asking its injunction to restrain enforcement of these laws and regulations against Jehovah 's Witnesses” (West Virginia State Board Of Education v. Barnette 1). With the protections of the First Amendment, the Barnette ruling summoned both freedom of religion and an individual’s freedom of speech. With the Supreme Court

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