Professor Roy Gutterman L'00 Provides CNN With a First Amendment Explainer
The First Amendment doesn't guarantee you the rights you think it does
CNN | Jan. 12, 2021
Scenario: You are banned from a social media platform.
This is not a First Amendment issue, though plenty of people think it is.
Scenario: You are fired from you job for something you say in public or online.
If you work for a private company, it's probably not a First Amendment issue.
Scenario: A university or public group cancels a speech or presentation by a controversial figure.
If it's a private institution, it's probably not a First Amendment issue. If it's a public institution, the lines can get blurry.
Scenario: You are arrested for saying something critical of the government.
Definitely a First Amendment issue. But, like pretty much everything in law, there are exceptions and nuances.
Scenario: Your comment or post is deleted on an online forum.
It's a private company, so it's not a First Amendment issue.
Scenario: You are arrested for recording police activities in public.
A First Amendment issue -- usually.
What speech isn't covered under the First Amendment?
- Fighting words
- Child pornography
- Incitement to imminent lawless action
- True threats
- Solicitations to commit crimes
- Plagiarism of copyrighted material