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The CNN Lawsuit Over Jim Acosta’s Press Pass

The press pass privileges of CNN’s Jim Acosta were revoked following an encounter with a White House intern during a presidential press conference. The intern had attempted to take away a microphone from Acosta when the President had recognized another reporter for a question. Acosta resisted the intern’s efforts. There is video of the event […]

Sixth Amendment’s Public Trial: From Communal Duty to Accused’s Right

The Constitution’s Bill of Rights contains many procedural protections for those the government accuses of having committed a crime.  Among them is the Sixth Amendment right to a “public trial”.  The provision is stated: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a… public trial” The concept of a public trial is ancient, but it did […]

Court Approves “Heckler’s Veto” over Flag Wearing Students

“Freedom has more often been lost in small steps by progressive incrementalism, than by catastrophic upheavals such as violence or war.” –James Madison. A cut was sliced into the First Amendment‘s Free Speech protections on February 27, 2014 by the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court upheld a California high school’s decision to […]

Obamacare Contraception Mandate Reaches Supreme Court

On August 3, 2011 the Department of Health and Human Services and the Internal Revenue Service jointly issued what has become known as the contraception mandate. This required all employer health plans, including religiously based hospitals, schools, charities and private employers, to offer:  “…all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and […]

US Constitution’s First Amendment: Right to Petition for Redress of Grievances

The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights addresses five rights.  The limits on government interference with religion, speech and the press were the result of the uniquely American experience. The right to peaceable assembly was a needed protection to exercise the first three. The First Amendment’s fifth right will come as a surprise to […]

First Amendment to US Constitution: Right to Peaceable Assembly

The Constitution’s First Amendment contains limits on government interference with very well known unalienable rights: religion, speech and press. The Amendment specifically restricts government interference with an activity necessary to exercise the first three named rights: the need for people to gather to practice religion, to talk about issues and to distribute information. The right […]

First Amendment to the Constitution: Freedom of the Press

Like Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech, in the United States the concept of Freedom of the Press as it developed has been uniquely American.  Along with free speech for the general population, it is surely the source of what has become known as American Exceptionalism. American Exceptionalism Alexis de Tocqueville originally referred to […]

The First Amendment to the Constitution: Freedom of Speech

The US Constitution’s first ten amendments are called The Bill of Rights. The First Amendment limits the authority of government to enact laws impinging upon the natural rights of the people to practice religion, engage in speech, publish their ideas and assemble together to petition their government. Freedom of religion is the first named freedom. The second named […]

First Amendment to the Constitution: Freedom of Religion

Freedom of Religion is the first of our natural rights acknowledged in the First Amendment and limits government’s power to establish an official religion or interfere with a citizen’s exercise of religion. This is a recognition of freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. The first ten amendments to the US Constitution are referred to […]

Amendment I to the US Constitution: An Overview

The US Constitution grants enumerated powers to the central government. The drafters believed enumerating the powers limited the government. This was the argument Federalists made based upon an accepted  rule for interpreting legal documents: Expressio unius est exclusio alterius (“the express mention of one thing excludes all others”).  With that principle in mind, the government could not […]