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You are angry with your state government for its aggressive policy of executing convicted murderers as quickly as possible. You gather 50,000 signatures against the death penalty and deliver your petition to the state capitol amid great fanfare. But the next day, your state executes another convicted murderer. Has the state violated your right to petition?
You are protesting gun control laws in your state. You gather together a thousand people who agree with you on the steps of the state capitol. When you attempt to enter the state senate chamber, the security guard stops you because the senate is currently in session. Has he violated your right to peaceable assembly?
Members of the Pastafarian religion believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster (“May You Be Touched By His Noodly Appendage”). The Pastafarians want to build a new Pirate Center in your town. You believe them to be charlatans and con men, and so you convince your city council to pass an ordinance outlawing the ceremonial use of pasta. The law does not mention the Pastafarians and applies equally to everyone. Is it constitutional?
Your town does not have a lot of money, so it only has one holiday decoration: a Christmas display that it has used for decades in the front lobby of City Hall. It is a lovely manger scene with the Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph and all of the Wise Men. A Hindu family moves into town and asks that the display be removed. Do you have to remove the display?
Can an individual refuse a compulsory vaccination if it violates his religious principles?
Can a student refuse to salute the flag in a public school classroom if it violates the teachings of his church?
Your city has a problem with teenagers who hang out on street corners and make offensive comments to passers-by. They are hurting business and irritating your citizens. In response, you propose to your city council that it enact a statute forbidding such conduct, “any conduct that is offensive to pedestrians.” Does this statute violate the 1st Amendment or not?
You are in court, observing a high-profile trial of the celebrity, Andy Leming, for public indecency. You wish to support the defendant, so you bring with you a large sign saying, “Free Andy Leming!” As soon as you unfurl your sign, the judge orders you to put it away because it is distracting to the parties and to the jury. You refuse and the judge orders you removed from the courtroom. Has the judge violated your free speech rights?
The 1st Amendment protects:
The wording of the 1st Amendment specifies that:
The 1st Amendment protections of free speech and press DO NOT protect: