Should the burning of the Flag be protected by the 1st Amendment?

Topic: Burning of the Flag

Should burning of the Flag and/or taking a knee during the national Anthem be protected by freedom of speech? Several, people believe that it should be banned and the actions presented was not in any way respectful, although others have thought that it should be allowed and is also, away to express their freedom.

Many sources state that the burning of the American flag is protected by the 1st Amendment, although it is unpleasant. Meanwhile, Donald Trump our well known president, thinks differently about the situation. Stating that “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or a year in jail!”. But, others sees it is away to express disagreement. Just like kneeling during the National Anthem. If we ban the burning of the flag we should might as well ban our freedom of expression in total, then how free would we be?

 “All You Need To Know About Why NFL Players Are Taking A Knee And Where It Came From.” The Independent. N.                       p., 2018. Web. 5 Oct. 2018.

“Flag Burning Or Desecration.” American Civil Liberties Union. N. p., 2018. Web. 5 Oct. 2018.

“Flag Burning And The First Amendment: Yet Another Look At The Two – National Constitution Center.” National Constitution Center – constitutioncenter.org. N. p., 2018. Web. 5 Oct. 2018.

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Fake news against the law

Fake news violates the First Amendment because it uses libel in its articles. Many people may find the headlines to be hilarious, however, it is illegal to make defamatory statements in written form and to have them posted to the public. Some find that criminalizing false information is wrong because it violates the freedom of expression. Laws have not been strictly enforced on the issue of libel. News media, social media, and even politicians get away with libel everyday, explaining the lack of change or effort to protect the right of free speech. President Trump, however, wishes to put more effort into laws to prevent libel from happening in America as it often affects politicians like himself in the media. As libel becomes more prominent and threatening to the government and its country, the more focus is being put to limit the rights of free speech.

Rose, Flemming, and Jacob Mchangama. “History Proves how Dangerous it is to have the Government Regulate..” Washington Post – Blogs, 03 Oct 2017. sirsissuesresearcher, https://explore.proquest.com/sirsissuesresearcher/document/2265914685?accountid=9361.

Liptak, Adam. “Trump Vowed to Change Libel Laws. He might Not have had this in Mind.” New York Times, 03 Apr 2018. sirsissuesresearcher, https://explore.proquest.com/sirsissuesresearcher/document/2263382195?accountid=9361.

Pearlstine, Norman. “Trump’s Long, Complicated Relationship with Libel Laws.” Los Angeles Times, 09 Sep 2018. sirsissuesresearcher, https://explore.proquest.com/sirsissuesresearcher/document/2266166046?accountid=9361.

Protecting Your SPeech

Does the First Amendment protect people’s rights to use “hate speech”? The constitution has recently been challenged on what should be allowed as “free speech” and many people, mostly younger generations, are beginning to want to restrict what people are allowed to say. Millennials have a higher percentage(40%) of people wanting the government to prevent people from making offensive statements or using hate speech than the older generations such as Baby Boomers(24%) and the Silent Generation(12%). They want to make “hate speech” unconstitutional. But what is hate speech? The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines hate speech as “speech expressing hatred of a particular group of people”. The freedom of speech clause allows all free speech except speech that incites violence such as shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater or ‘bomb’ on an airplane. Though people are allowed to go to military veterans funerals and hold up signs that say ‘God Hates Fags’ or similar sayings, such as in the case Snyder vs. Phelps. The family of a deceased military veteran were suing Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church for intentionally inflicting emotional distress by picketing the funeral with “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” signs.


Schools are another area that “hate speech” is often talked about and can get many students in trouble. K-12 schools have been given more leeway with allowing what can or can’t be said and this is because they are responsible for having a safe learning environment for all students. In college or more adult settings though, those rules drop and people can freely say “hate speech”, as long as it doesn’t incite violence. It also may not “disrupt” classes or other school activities. Schools can not censor one side of a topic though, they must allow both if they allow one. For example, if they permit an article in the school newspaper saying premarital sex is bad, they may not censor one that says it’s good. Many college campuses though are cracking down on what their students can and can not say or do in regards to their beliefs. College campuses are restricting free speech and labeling it as hate speech and thus limiting the meaningful conversations that students could’ve been engaging in. 

If hate speech wasn’t protected by the First Amendment, then people wouldn’t be able to have important conversations that discuss the different beliefs held by different people. Free speech is an extremely important right that allows people to hold their own personal opinions and not be shut down or censored because it’s an unpopular or immoral belief. As long as people are not inciting violence or using fighting words, hate speech is not only allowed, but protected under the First Amendment.

Cited Sources


“6 Major U.S. Supreme Court Hate Speech Cases.” ThoughtCo. N. p., 2019. Web. 1 Oct. 2019


“Americans Tolerate Offensive Speech More Than Others In World.” Pew Research Center. N. p., 2016. Web. 1 Oct. 2019.

“Definition Of HATE SPEECH.” Merriam-webster.com. N. p., 2019. Web. 1 Oct. 2019.

“Facts And Case Summary – Snyder V. Phelps.” United States Courts. N. p., 2019. Web. 1 Oct. 2019.

Lawyers.com. (2019). Does the First Amendment Protect Hate Speech?. [online] Available at: https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/criminal/does-the-first-amendment-protect-hate-speech.html [Accessed 1 Oct. 2019].


“Your Right To Free Expression.” American Civil Liberties Union. N. p., 2019. Web. 1 Oct. 2019.

Should employers be allowed to fire employees based on their social media Content?

Every employer wants the best employees they can find, but in a sea of identical resumes, how can one decide who makes the cut? Many employers turn to social media accounts to see who holds up to their standards. The question is: Is using social media to decide who to hire and who to fire a violation of an American’s First Amendment rights? There are boundaries to the legality of these instances. For example, it is completely legal to fire someone over their social media content if they are: violating an employer or social media policy, damaging the company/employer’s reputation, exposing confidential information, and/or much more. Examples of these instances include people like Justine Sacco who, in 2013, tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” while boarding her flight to South Africa. The twitter world worked it’s magic to contact her employer about the very offensive tweet and before her flight landed, Justine had received an email from her manager informing her that she had been fired. On the other hand, there is a legal line. Employers can face scrutiny if they don’t follow the proper steps of termination or fail to consider employee protections such as the NLRA (An organization that protects private-sector employees). Many who argue that dismissal based on social media content is a violation of First Amendment rights fail to acknowledge the boundaries and that the First Amendment protects from the restrictions of the government, but does not cover the consequences of private owners.

I fully believe that employers have the right to fire someone based on a social media post as long as they follow the proper steps for termination and remain professional throughout the process. As MMSD Staff Guidelines states, “Your online behavior must reflect the same standards of professionalism, respect, and integrity as your face to face communications.” Therefore, if you wouldn’t say it to your employers face, don’t put it online.

Bell, June D. “Firing for Online Behavior.” SHRM, SHRM, 16 Aug. 2019, http://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/0918/pages/firing-for-online-behavior-.aspx.

“Employee Handbook 2016-17: Human Resources.” Employee Handbook 2016-17 | Human Resources, hr.madison.k12.wi.us/employee-handbook-2016-17.

Hyman, Jon. “EVENTS.” Workforce, 7 May 2019, http://www.workforce.com/2019/05/07/your-employees-do-not-understand-their-lack-of-free-speech-rights/.

Miller, Bridget. “Can You Fire an Employee over Social Media Posts?” HR Daily Advisor, 11 Sept. 2018, hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2018/09/12/can-you-fire-an-employee-over-social-media-posts/.

Workopolis. “6 People Who Were Fired for Social Media Posts.” Workopolis Blog, 7 Mar. 2018, careers.workopolis.com/advice/6-people-who-were-fired-for-social-media-posts/.

Does same sex marriage violate gay/lesbians limits to the first amendment?

It is still quite unclear as to whether same sex marriage is considered a violation to the first amendment. The first amendments states that people have the freedom of speech, freedom of assemblies, and the right to petition the government. Yet, gay and lesbian rights are being withhold from them. The government did give them the right of marriage finally, but the 9th Circuit U.S Court of Appeals in San Francisco denied to re-examine the issue just months after the judges gave gays and lesbians the okay to wed.

Is Flag burning protected by the first amendment?

People have different opinions on whether or not flag burning should be protected by the first amendment. Some people burn the American Flag to show their way of freedom of speech, and they use the flag to get a message across. On the other hand, some other people believe that the action should be banned and it is disrespectful to the United States.

Many different people and resources show that burning the American Flag is protected by the first amendment but the president has another opinion about the subject. President Trump believes that this could be considered a very intense crime if the amendment passes and could end up causing bad consequences like losing citizenship or serving time is jail. If we ban the right to burn the flag then how will we know what else “isn’t acceptable to do”?

Article title:Reasons to Oppose the Flag Desecration Amendment
Website title:American Civil Liberties Union
URL:https://www.aclu.org/other/reasons-oppose-flag-desecration-amendment
Article title:Flag Desecration Amendment
Website title:En.wikipedia.org
URL:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_Desecration_Amendment

Article title:         No Brainer”:Trump Tweets About Amendment Banning Flag Burning”)

Website title:         Washingtonpost.Com

URL:       https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/06/1

                                   5/no-brainer-trump-tweets-support-amendment-banning-flag-burning/

When do Protest Cross the CONSTITUTIONAL Line

Protesting is a very common occurrence in America at this time and people are not afraid to speak their minds because they know they are protected legally by the first amendment which constitutes that American citizens are allowed to speak their mind but there are some exceptions including slander and threatening the president. An example of protesting and how far it can go is a in a court case named Snyder vs Phelps, in this case Albert Snyder sued Phelps and his organization called ¨The Westboro Baptist Church.¨ While the Jury agreed with Snyder and believed that he should receive $10.9 Million, the supreme court got involved and sided with Phelps and followers in that they were not breaking any laws, were across the street from the funeral, and none of the protesting was directed at Snyder or his family.

While Phelps may have won this one, it was a short lived victory as new laws were created only a year later to limit how far political protesting can go and when it is acceptable. These laws include but are not limited to not protesting within 300 feet of the area, it gives people injured by the protest a right to sue and people can not enter the area or leave the area that are protesting two hours before or after. Overall protesting is protected by the first amendment and labeled under free speech, but now they have their limits.

Gabe Rottman, Special to CNN. “Even Vile Funeral Protests Are Free Speech – CNN.” CNN. N. p., 2019.

“Facts And Case Summary – Snyder V. Phelps.” United States Courts. N. p., 2019.

“They’re Still Here: The Curious Evolution Of Westboro Baptist Church – Religion News Service.” Religion News Service. N. p., 2018.

Is it ok to ban books from our CHILDREN’s schools?

Is banning books protected by obscenity clause of the First amendment?

Banning books has been a topic of interest since the 1960’s on whether it should be allowed or not. To understand if it is just to ban these books first you need to know the definition of obscenity. Obscenity is anything that goes against morality and decency, can be viewed as disgusting and goes against community standards.

 Some of the books being banned are ones like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, SlaughterHouse Five , and Scarlet’s Letter. These books were banned because they were deemed too inappropriate, being either racist or sexual natured by many parents hearing about their children reading them. In 2001 there was a famous court trial in Main against the Harry Potter book series where parents and the school districts didn’t allow the books for promoting witchcraft, violence, and satanism. The court overruled this and returned the books to the shelves for them to be able to be read by students. Books should be treated like movies and if they have a large amount of profanity and/or sexual content it should be up to the parents to decide if they want their child to read it and even talked about with the child to understand what is right and what is wrong. Letting a child at a young age to read books like 50 Shades of Gray could confuse them and possibly get them in trouble later in the future.

A big issue about banning books is that if something is seen as inappropriate to people because of bias it could lead to books about people expressing themselves getting banned in which the biggest example of this being books relating to the LGBT community. If parents don’t want their children to read books like this then they should be able to restrict it from their kids only and not feel the need to force their restrictions on other people’s children. 

“Banned Books: Librarians Push Back Against Censorship.” WTTW News. N. p., 2019. Web. 3 Oct. 2019.

“Banned Books Week: 4 Famous Library Censorship Cases | USC Library Science Degree Online.” USC Library Science Degree Online. N. p., 2015. Web. 3 Oct. 2019.

“Banned Books – Top 3 Pros And Cons – Procon.Org.” Procon.org. N. p., 2019. Web. 3 Oct. 2019.

“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.” ~Benjamin Franklin, writing as Silence Dogood