1st Amendment

First Amendment Keeps Trump Out of Jail

The 1st Amendment states that “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.”

Trump’s latest media-hating tweet stated “It is not “freedom of the press” when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false!” He has pulled the media credentials from the Washington Post and Huntington Post journalists at his events, and is threatening to do the same to the New York Times. Recently he said he wants to open up the libel laws to make it easier to sue the press. This latest tweet not only shows a lack of understanding for what a free press means,  but his total ignorance of the Constitution.

In the text of the 1st Amendment, and clarifying Supreme Court decisions since, the press are clearly allowed to say and write anything they want, even if it is false. If they say something false they leave themselves open for libel suits. The 1st Amendment also prohibits the President and Congress from making any law infringing on that right. Trump believes his right to criticize the media does not extend to media criticism of him.

In fact, the 1st Amendment is the only reason that Trump is not in jail right now. Most developed countries do not guarantee the right to all speech. In most European countries hate speech is not a protected right. The British parliament debated whether to ban Trump from entering the UK, a few months. Britain considers the things Trump said about Muslims and Mexican as hate speech and it is a criminal offense.

This is not the first indication that Trump does not understand the 1st Amendment. His Muslim ban also violates free exercise of religion restriction. The 1st Amendment of the Constitution, states Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion. His comments on protesters also shows he has no respect for the right of people to peaceably assemble. Obviously Trump either does not understand the Constitution or has not read it. His comments on Article 12 suggests the latter is true.

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