The First Amendment

The First Amendment clearly prohibits any restrictions on the freedom of speech. Does this mean that in the U.S. we have absolute freedom of speech?

Identify the courts’ rules to regulate the following types of speech: obscenities, symbolic speech, and libel/slander. Write about the specific rules/tests/standards/definitions that the Supreme Court has issued to identify what’s permissible and what is not permissible to say in regards to obscenities, symbolic speech, and libel/slander.

Applying Supreme Court’s rules to cases:

If one person protests the US foreign policy by burning a US flag (that they purchased with their own money) while another person burns the military draft card (that they received from the government), the two actions will be treated differently by the government. Which of these two actions is protected by the 1st Amendment’s free speech and which one is not? Explain why.
If the local high school’s anatomy book contains an image of a naked person, can the community sue the school district for spreading obscenities? Explain your answer. Refer to the specific rules issued by the US Supreme Court regulating obscenities.
Back in 2009, businessman Trump used to spread lies that President Obama was not born in the United States. If former President Obama decided to sue former President Trump for libel (written defamation) what would President Obama’s lawyers have had to prove in court to win the case against another former President? Why do you think President Obama never sued President Trump for libel?

Sample Solution