Lesson 1 of 0
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1.7: A First Amendment Case

Goals

  • Build familiarity with the text of the First Amendment
  • Practice explaining US law using different words

Instructions

  • Read the First Amendment to the United States Constitution
  • Read an excerpt from an article about a lawsuit concerning the First Amendment
  • Read an excerpt from the lawsuit
  • Complete the exercise by answering questions concerning the First Amendment and the lawsuit

1. The First Amendment to the US Constitution

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

2. Excerpt from an Article about a Lawsuit Concerning the First Amendment

You can read the full article here.

ACLU sues Arizona over law limiting filming of police

 Aug 23, 2022 4:54 PM EST

PHOENIX (AP) —

[1] A controversial Arizona law restricting how the public can film police faced its first legal challenge Tuesday with a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. [NOTE: The American Civil Liberties Union is an organization in the United States that advocates against government interference with people’s rights, including rights found in the Bill of Rights].

[2] The group’s Arizona chapter, joined by several Arizona news organizations, filed a petition in U.S. District Court. [3] They argue the law criminalizes First Amendment freedoms.

[4] “This law is a violation of a vital constitutional right and will severely thwart attempts to build police accountability. [5] It must be struck down before it creates irreparable community harm,” the ACLU wrote in a statement on its blog.

Source: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/aclu-sues-arizona-over-law-limiting-filming-of-police

3. Read an Excerpt from the Lawsuit

Here are a few paragraphs from plaintiffs’ Complaint (the document filed by the plaintiffs to start the case). Please note that the article refers to the Complaint as a “petition” but you will usually see this referred to as a Complaint. The plaintiffs are news organizations in Arizona. In these paragraphs, plaintiffs allege that the Arizona law violates the First Amendment:

“The law infringes on the News Organization Plaintiffs’ ability to engage in core newsgathering activities.” (paragraph 29)

“The law also infringes the First Amendment rights of all people in Arizona to record the activities of police.” (paragraph 30)

“Video recordings of law enforcement activity are speech and expressive activity related to a matter of public concern. This activity is therefore protected by the First Amendment.” (paragraph 54)

You can find a copy of the Complaint here: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/arizona-broadcasters-association-v-brnovich-complaint

Answer the Questions