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The Freedom of the Press

February 18, 2017

 

Constitutional law was one of my favorite classes in law school. The cases were almost always chocked full of drama, and often resulted in a significant course change for our country. Okay, it could also be because I got an "A," at least that's my recollection and I'm sticking to it. But, I digress.

 

Lately, the Press has been under attack, and has been the topic of tweets. In light of this, it's important to remember where the Press gets a good bit of its power; the First Amendment to the Constitution. If you think about it, it's really quite amazing that over 200 years ago, our founding fathers had the foresight to protect the Press, our freedom of speech, and a number of other rights we may take for granted from time-to-time.

 

The Founders wrote, "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." 

 

While the First Amendment seems prophetic, as it remains particularly relevant more than 200 years after it was authored, little is known about what the Framers meant at the time. There is little record of debate about the intended purpose in the First Congress, which is where the Bill of Rights was proposed. Since then, our Judiciary has flushed out the meaning and extent of these rights in a series of court cases that have shaped our rights. "The more you know...."

 

 

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