Wednesday, October 19, 2011

An interesting Web Page

Things That Are Not In the U.S. Constitution:

* The Air Force
* Congressional Districts
* The Electoral College
* Executive Order
* Executive Privilege
* Freedom of Expression
* (Absolute) Freedom of Speech and Press
* "From each according to his ability..."
* God
* Immigration
* Impeachment means removal from office
* Innocent until proven guilty
* It's a free country
* Judicial Review
* Jury of Peers
* "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness"
* Marriage
* Martial Law
* No taxation without representation
* Number of Justices in the Supreme Court
* "Of the people, by the people, for the people"
* Paper Money
* Political Parties
* Primary Elections
* Qualifications for Judges
* The right to privacy
* The right to travel
* The right to vote
* The separation of church and state
* The Separation of Powers Clause
* Slavery
* "We hold these truths to be self-evident"
* Judicial Review of laws

I was looking up material on another topic, but these were particularly interesting to me.
Freedom of Expression

It is often said that one of the rights protected by the 1st Amendment is the freedom of expression. This site, in fact, uses that term in its quick description of the amendment: "Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression." But "expression" is not used in the amendment at all. This term has come to be used as a shorthand, a term of art, for three of the freedoms that are explicitly protected: speech, petition, and assembly. While the use of "freedom of expression" is ubiquitous in this area of 1st Amendment study, it is important to note exactly what "freedom of expression" refers to - let this be such a note.

(Absolute) Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution does protect the freedom of speech of every citizen, and even of non-citizens — but only from restriction by the Congress (and, by virtue of the 14th Amendment, by state legislatures, too). There are plenty of other places where you could speak but where speech can and is suppressed. For example, freedom of speech can be and often is restricted in a work place, for example: employers can restrict your right to speak in the work place about politics, about religion, about legal issues, even about Desperate Housewives. The same restrictions that apply to the government do not apply to private persons, employers, or establishments. For another example, the government could not prohibit the sale of any newspaper lest it breech the freedom of the press. No newsstand, however, must carry every paper against its owners' wishes.
See also the concept of compelled or coerced speech:

The guarantees of civil liberty are but guarantees of freedom of the human mind and spirit and of reasonable freedom and opportunity to express them...The very essence of the liberty which they guarantee is the freedom of the individual from compulsion as to what he shall think and what he shall say...

Harlan Stone's dissent in Minersville School District v. Gobitis, 310 U.S. 586 (1940)

No comments:

Post a Comment