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First Five by the Freedom Forum Institute

The First Amendment protects five core freedoms that are under attack every day — from the left, the right, and everywhere in between. First Five strives to foster interest in First Amendment news and provide a platform for discussion among enthusiasts and activists. Column is available weekly for NNA member newspapers to reprint. 

When it comes to your core freedoms, which would you rather wield to protect them: a sword or a shield?

The First Amendment long functioned as a shield to protect a marketplace of ideas. Today, many brandish it as a sword to carve out exceptions for favored views. Freedom Forum senior fellow Gene Policinski ...

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Speak, assemble, petition – and register to vote

Voting and being able to register to vote seem obvious extensions of First Amendment rights. What good are the rights to freely think, speak, write, gather, and seek change in our government if we are ...

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PERSPECTIVE: THE WRONGNESS OF LETTING GOVERNMENT TELL US TO ‘SHUT UP – OR ELSE’

The First Amendment protects freedom of speech even – especially – related to discussion and debate of major social issues. Proposed state legislation to limit speech related to abortion could ...

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For our freedoms, age is just a number

The First Amendment doesn’t have an age limit on whom it protects. Some brave kids have harnessed their First Amendment power to make themselves heard, seen and recognized. See how six kids (featured ...

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PERSPECTIVES: Court OKs coach’s on-field prayer, shifting balance for religious expression

Last week, our fellows weighed in on how a recent ruling on funding for religious schools suggests that the Supreme Court might be reshaping religious freedom. This week, fellows examine how the court’s ...

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PERSPECTIVES: Court sets new rules for funding religious schools

Is the Supreme Court reshaping religious freedom? A recent ruling on funding for religious schools suggests it might be. Three Freedom Forum experts weigh in on what the case could mean for the interaction ...

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Five historic dissenting opinions that shaped our First Amendment rights

It’s been a month of landmark Supreme Court rulings – and dissents. The ability to disagree with majority opinion is an important part of the First Amendment right to free speech, and dissenting ...

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The First Amendment future of debate over Roe v. Wade

The five freedoms in the First Amendment have powered our nation’s long, divisive debate over the incredibly personal issue of abortion. They may also be how we frame its future now that the Supreme ...

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Survey says we're divided about our rights — and First Amendment could bridge divisions

The last several years of Freedom Forum surveys show that Americans value our First Amendment freedoms but have questions about how they work in today’s world. The latest survey shows concerns and ...

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5 ANNIVERSARIES THIS JUNE THAT DEFINED OUR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS

The Supreme Court wraps up its term each June, making this a big month for rulings with significant impact. The court’s June rulings have sometimes defined and refined what the First Amendment protects. ...

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HOW THE FIRST AMENDMENT PROTECTS ANONYMOUS SPEECH ONLINE

Anonymity can protect privacy and keep people like whistleblowers and activists safe. It can also shield bad behavior. Jeff Kosseff, author of “The United States of Anonymous: How the First Amendment ...

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PERSPECTIVE: POST-ROE PREDICTIONS FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

Faith groups in the U.S. are sharply divided over abortion. Will striking down Roe v. Wade, which appears likely according to a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion, offer an opportunity to find compromise ...

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FIRST AMENDMENT FACTS: GRADUATION CEREMONIES, PRAYER AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

It’s graduation season, and some graduates may wish to celebrate their accomplishment with acts of faith. Freedom Forum religious freedom coordinator (and recent graduate) Hannah Santos looks at ...

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PERSPECTIVE: How a 40-year-old Supreme Court ruling may quash the book banning wave

A rise in school boards and lawmakers seeking to remove books from public schools is raising questions of whether book banning is constitutional. A nearly forgotten, 40-year-old Supreme Court case could ...

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The Roe V. Wade leak shows the benefit of a free press

The leak of a draft Supreme Court decision that would overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that protected abortion rights has sparked nationwide protest, punditry and questions about press protections. ...

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Alberto Ibargüen ⁠— a vision to reinvent local news

As a lawyer, publisher, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and longtime champion of journalism and the arts, Alberto Ibargüen, this year’s recipient of the Al Neuharth ...

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HOW STOP AAPI HATE INSPIRED AND EMPOWERED ACTION

March 2020 saw the beginning of a rapid spread in the U.S. of COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, China. Along with it came a dramatic escalation of anti-Asian rhetoric, discrimination and incidents of ...

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Eric Treene ⁠— upholding religious freedom for all

A Muslim community in Tennessee faced backlash over the building of a new mosque. A Rastafarian man was punished because prison rules didn’t accommodate the hairstyle of his religious practice. Two ...

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Nikole Hannah-Jones ⁠— reviving voices lost to history and empowering communities today

This month, explore how the First Amendment heroes we’ll honor at the 2022 Free Expression Awards have used their rights to advocate for others – starting with a journalist who faced academic ...

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PERSPECTIVE: How Gen Z activists are living and protecting the First Amendment

Today’s kids and young adults have faced an onslaught of societal challenges. But Gen Z activists aren’t giving in to fear. They’re exercising their First Amendment rights to push for ...

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