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Understanding the First Amendment of the Constitution

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Understanding the First Amendment of the Constitution

“The first amendment establishes freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech. It specifically states as follows: 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.

The first amendment can be categorized into five different areas and it is important to know how these areas affect our lives and what it means to use today. The five areas of the first amendment include:

1.    Freedom of Religion
2.    Freedom of Speech
3.    Freedom of the Press
4.    Freedom of Assembly
5.    Right to Petition

The first part of the first amendment is freedom of religion. From our early American History classes as youngsters, we learn that the early colonist left England to come to America in order to have freedom of religion. Under the first amendment, freedom of religion establishes that we can go to any church we want, any synagogue we want, any mosk we want, etc. That the government can not mandate a national religion or a national church and make us practice that particular religion.  

The second part of the first amendment is freedom of speech. This grants us the freedom to speak our minds against the government. The government can not make laws that prevent us from criticizing the government or our leaders. Frankly, we can say what we want about our government whether they are doing a good job or a bad job without fear of any laws preventing us or anything restricting our speech. 

The third part of the first amendment is freedom of the press. That means that the government can not control the press. This gives us freedom from the government controlling what we hear, see, or read. In fact we can get our news or information from multiple sources. We can have a particular news channel or website that we like. That news or that information from the free press is not under the thumb of the government. That we can get information freely from multiple sources and listen to what we want. Furthermore, if we do not like what the press is saying than we can write a letter to the editor and get that printed. We can pass out our own leaflets or flyers, or we can even create our own webpage and state our own ideas and beliefs. We have the freedom under the first amendment, the freedom of all press, any form that we establish.

The fourth part of the first amendment is freedom of assembly. This means that groups of people can congregate in public or privately to share ideas. It can be a social group, it can be a political group, it can be a religious group, etc. The first amendment allows them to assemble and share ideas. They can be for or against the government. The first amendment grants their freedom to assemble.
The fifth part of the first amendment is the right to petition. With this freedom, if we have grievances with our government, we can send our thoughts to them. We can have petitions put together, we can send e-mails, we can write letters, etc. We can have our opinions known to our governors, to the President, to our judges, to the folks that run our country. We have the ability to petition them and explain what we like and what we do not like. That freedom is established in the first amendment.”

- Kevin Hayslett, P.A.

The criminal defense attorneys at Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. are fighting for our clients rights in criminal defense cases in ClearwaterTampaBradentonSpring Hill, Pinellas, Pasco, New Port Richey, Manatee, Hillsborough and Hernando Counties in Florida.

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J. Kevin Hayslett

Kevin Hayslett, Esq.

J. Kevin Hayslettis an attorney practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and DUI Defense from the Clearwater office and Hillsborough office. Kevin is an avid tennis player and is currently nationally rated in singles and doubles. You can follow Kevin onGoogle+, oron Radio IO on his show, "Kevin's Law". Kevin can also be heard on the Sirius Satellite Radio show during the "Ask the Lawyer" segment, which can be heard the first Thursday of every month.