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POLS 101 1st Edition Lecture 7Outline of Current Lecture I. First Amendment protection of free expression and freedom of religion.II. Free ExpressionIII. 4 Doctrines or Tests the US Supreme Court uses to determine if a government decision infringes upon free expression. Current LectureI. 1-Prior Restraint.II. Governments may seek to prevent the publication of materials they deem harmful. Their right to do so exists only if extreme circumstances when release of information creates serious jeopardy. For example, government canprevent the publication of troop movements to protect troop safety. Government does not have the authority to stop the publication of information that embarrasses the government.2-Void of Vagueness If a law restricting free expression is so vague that it is unclear to citizens,the law (or government infringement) on free expression is unconstitutional because citizens may restrict their speech to avoid violating the law. 3-Least Dramatic Means If government limits free expression because it wants to protect citizens, the courts will want to know if there is a less intrusive way to accomplish the same goal. For example, if the government worries that an industry will use billboard advertisements to make false claims that may harm citizens and passes alaw saying prohibiting the industry from using billboard ads, the court will strike down the law if government could have used a less dramatic means to protect citizens. If a city made it illegal for lawyers to use billboard ads, the courts would be likely to say that are less drastic means available. A city could monitor the These notes represent a detailed interpretation of the professor’s lecture. GradeBuddy is best used as a supplement to your own notes, not as a substitute.content of such ads and remove misleading claims and/or the state could sanctionlawyers who made misleading claims in their ads. 4-Content and Viewpoint Neutrality If a law limits the free expression of a particular set of people, the lawis more likely to be unconstitutional than if the government prohibits the expression of many peoples’ view (assuming those views pose a danger to society). In other words, the government should not be singling out and limiting some individuals’ free speech. If a particular type of speech needs to be limited, the law is more likely to be constitutional if it applies to everyone. A law requiring that all business be held to the same standard of truthfulness in advertising is more likely to be constitutional than if the law only applies to grocers or discount stores. First Amendment Freedoms Apply to Freedom of Religion via two clauses of the First Amendment. The Establishment Clause This clause bars government sponsorship or support of religion. Government must be neutral.Like free speech, the establishment clause has never been interpreted absolutely so some assistance to religion is allowed. In Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), the Supreme Court set forth 3 tests to determine when government actions and assistance is constitutional. To be acceptable, laws and actions must meet ALL 3 requirements: 1-The law must have a secular purpose. 2-The primary effect of the law must not inhibit or advance religion. 3-The law must not involve government in an excessive entanglement with religion. Thus, government/school sponsored prayers in school are not acceptable but the governmentmay provide free transportation to students attending a religious school. The reasoning is that transportation helps students but does not advance religion. The Free Exercise Clause This clause prohibits the government from compelling citizens to accept religious beliefs or from denying a citizen’s rights because of their religious beliefs.Example I used in class: Counselors working for a government agency were fired because they used an illegal drug (peyote which was part of their religious practices). The employees applied to get unemployment insurance from the state but the state denied their request. The employees went into court and asserted theirrights had been denied because of their religious beliefs. The Supreme Court ruled the employees’ rights had not been infringed on. Their reasoning was that the state’s laws about the illegality of peyote and denialof unemployment benefits to those fired for using illegal drugs applied generally and were not aimed at a particular religious group. As long as the law applies generally, the law is constitutional even if it makes it difficult or impossible to undertake religious activities. Congress didn’t like the decision and passed a law instructing governments to accommodate religious conduct unless there was a compelling reason not to do so. The constitutionality of this law was challenged in court. The Supreme Court help that it was unconstitutional because Congress exceeded its authority. Congress has authority to pass legislation to protection citizen rights BUT because of Separation of Powers, the courts (and not Congress) have the authority to define what citizen rights


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