The Bill Of Rights In Action Essay

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The Bill Of Rights In Action Essay, Research Paper Introduction “[A] Bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse.” — Thomas Jefferson December 20, 1787 The American Bill of Rights, inspired by Jefferson and drafted by James Madison, was adopted, and in 1791 the Constitution’s first ten amendments became the law of the land. The Bill of Rights was added to the constitution for many purposes and has adapted to take on many more. The amendments are used to provide answers to challenging questions in critical court cases and have taken shape with the ever-changing times. In Our Defense presents the many sides of the Bill of Rights. It exemplifies how the Founding

Fathers protected the individual rights of the people against the power of the government and how it still affects our lives today. The First Amendment The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. Freedom of expression consists of the rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and the implied rights of association and belief. The right to freedom of speech allows individuals to express themselves without interference or constraint by the government. The Supreme Court requires the government to provide substantial justification for the interference with the right of free speech where it attempts to regulate the

content of the speech. This is where the clear and present danger test comes in. During the First World War, an activist named Schenck campaigned against the draft, which he alleged constituted illegal involuntary servitude. He was convicted of inciting desertion in violation of the Espionage Act. He circulated material, which claimed that the conscription act violated the Thirteenth Amendment, and asserted that a conscript is little better than a convict. In 1919 this issue presented a close case for the Court, and in Schenck v. United States, the Court affirmed the conviction. Justice Holmes delivered the opinion of the entire Court. He stated, In many places and in ordinary times the defendants in saying all that was said in the circular would have been within their

constitutional rights. However, any act depends on the circumstances in which it was done. The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a crowded theatre and causing a panic. It does not even protect a man from an injunction against uttering words that may have all the effect of force. The clear and present danger rule came out of this. He also wrote Circumstances that would create a clear and present danger, Congress has a right to prevent . When a nation is at war many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right. Schenck was sentenced to a maximum of twenty

years in a federal penitentiary. This case had a great impact on the country, because it gave rise to a clear and present danger rule. Though a test was created, the courts had a difficult time determining if a danger is clear enough, or how remote it could be to still be present, and exactly how dangerous the danger must be. Over the years, the courts established certain guidelines regarding the clause. In Brandenburg v. Ohio, the court held that the government could restrict speech only when it is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action. The Supreme Court also decided that courts may regulate when, where, and how speakers express themselves, as long as they don t do it to restrict the content of speech. As a