1st Amendment. Why the Bill of Rights?. Designed to protect Americans against the overuse of power by the federal government. The 14 th Amendment (equal protection under law) applies the protections in the Bill of Rights to state and local governments (including public schools).
1. Constitutional rights are NOT absolute.
2. The Constitution protects citizens from certain actions by the government, not other citizens, businesses, or organizations.
3. There are rightsretained by individuals that are NOT explicitly written in the Constitution.
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.
Not in the Constitution
Letter from Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”
Where does the US stand in relation to other countries concerning freedom of speech, religion, and press?
This map shows "Voice and Accountability", a dimension of governances in Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) project by World Bank Group, which reflects perceptions of the extent to which a country's citizens are able to participate in selecting their government, as well as freedom of expression, freedom of association, and a free media.
The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders based upon the organization's assessment of their press freedom records. It reflects the degree of freedom journalists and news organizations enjoy in each country, and the efforts made by the state to respect and ensure respect for this freedom.