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You Be the Judge
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Censorship: What Is It?
Musical Hit List
Draw the Line
The First Amendment’s protections may sound straightforward but when applied in real-life situations, its freedoms and limits become unclear. We often test these limits through laws and in the court system, which help us define freedom by setting precedents and offering guidance for similar situations that may arise.
Does the First Amendment allow us to say anything we want? Does freedom of religion mean you can pray in public school? Can we burn an American flag?
At the core of many of these situations and others is this question: When should the rights of many take priority over the rights of one, and vice versa? It’s an ongoing debate as people test the limits of the First Amendment throughout time. In some cases, the courts are asked to revisit earlier rulings, and may issue a new opinion in response.
Click on each of the five clauses below to learn more about how the courts defined parts of the First Amendment on these questions and others.
Congress shall make no law...
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