Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

First Amendment

Looking back: George Carlin and the Supreme Court

July 3, 2019 By Scott Bomboy

On July 3, 1978, the Supreme Court issued its historic verdict in the George Carlin “seven dirty words” case, a decision that still holds sway over the use of indecent and obscene language on television, and in a new era of mass communications.

When the Supreme Court ruled to allow American flag burning

June 21, 2019 By NCC Staff

On June 21, 1989, a deeply divided United States Supreme Court upheld the rights of protesters to burn the American flag in a landmark First Amendment decision.

Supreme Court allows more religious symbols

June 20, 2019 By Lyle Denniston

A widely-splintered Supreme Court, speaking through a variety of separate opinions, on Thursday agreed to allow governments at all levels to keep long-standing religious monuments on public property. More broadly, several of the Justices strongly implied that the day may soon come when the Constitution’s ban on government “establishment of religion” will be relaxed further.

The history of legal challenges to the Pledge of Allegiance

June 14, 2019 By Scott Bomboy

The Pledge of Allegiance to the United States' flag has been part of American life for generations, but not without some constitutional controversy.

Recalling the Supreme Court’s historic statement on contraception and privacy

June 7, 2019 By Nicandro Iannacci

It was on this day in 1965 that the Supreme Court ruled in a landmark case about contraception use by married couples that laid the groundwork for a constitutional “right to privacy” in the United States.

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.

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