Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

First Amendment

The Assange Indictment and the First Amendment

April 19, 2019 By Jackie McDermott

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s arrest for hacking conspiracy charges last Wednesday has sparked renewed debate over where courts should draw the line between journalism protected by the First Amendment and actions that are considered cybercrime under federal law.

A tale of a giant cheese, a loaf of bread and the First Amendment

March 26, 2019 By Scott Bomboy

Today marks an interesting anniversary in U.S. history—the first known appearance of a huge loaf of bread at the White House, as a tribute to an equally giant, politically charged cheese wheel that symbolized the First Amendment.

An important date in Supreme Court history for the press

March 9, 2019 By NCC Staff

Today is the anniversary of one of the most important decisions in Supreme Court history that affected the civil rights movement and the free speech powers of the press: the case of the New York Times v. Sullivan.

Justice Thomas, originalism and the First Amendment

February 20, 2019 By Lyle Denniston

In nearly 28 years on the Supreme Court, Justice Clarence Thomas has been its most unwavering “originalist.” That means that he reads the Constitution as meaning today what he believes those who wrote it meant back then, no matter how conditions may have changed in America in the meantime.

Supreme Court denies appeal in football prayer case

January 22, 2019 By Scott Bomboy

The Supreme Court has turned down a request from a former Washington state public high school football coach over his right to lead prayers on the field after games. But four Justices said the question could be addressed by the Court in the future.

The Supreme Court mulls historic church preservation case

January 18, 2019 By Scott Bomboy

When can public funds be used to preserve historic buildings, if the structures also happen to be churches? A case from New Jersey could settle an apparent split among different courts involving the First Amendment and grants related to houses of worship.

When Festivus was recognized as a religion for several months

December 23, 2018 By NCC Staff

Eight years ago, an inmate in California and his lawyer convinced a judge that the Seinfeld-inspired holiday Festivus was a legitimate religious activity. The story made national headlines, but it also contained a few lessons about the legal system—and kosher food.

Five items Congress deleted from Madison’s original Bill of Rights

December 15, 2018 By NCC Staff

When James Madison spoke to the First Congress he proposed nearly 20 amendments as a Bill of Rights, and not the 10 we all know about. So what did Congress delete from the final list that was ratified by the states?

Once again, holiday displays face First Amendment questions

December 13, 2018 By Scott Bomboy

It is the season for controversy about public holiday displays, and this year’s stories include a fight over a cross in Missouri and some relocated Nativity scenes.

Survey: High school students, teachers differ on the First Amendment

December 6, 2018 By Scott Bomboy

A new Knight Foundation survey shows high school students compared with their teachers more strongly support certain First Amendment rights but have much less trust in the media than educators, especially when it comes to television.

Sign up for our email newsletter