First Amendment Essay Questions

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For each article, groups should consider both the relevant policy question and the related constitutional question (here is a student handout).“Supreme Court Strikes Down Law Banning Political Apparel at Polling Sites” by Adam Liptak (June 14, 2018)Policy Question: Should voters be able to wear whatever they want to the polling booth? Constitutional Question: Does the First Amendment allow the government to limit what voters can wear to the polling booth?

“High Schools Threaten to Punish Students Who Kneel During the Anthem” by Christine Hauser (Sept.

You can then ask students to explain their reasoning.

The Warm Up should have established for students that there are different ways to interpret the First Amendment.

We suggest you divide the class into three sections, with each section reading one of the articles.

You might choose to break up each section into smaller groups or pairs, based on what groupings tend to work best in your class.Stone and Eugene Volokh, is part of the National Constitution Center’s Interactive Constitution.Students should answer the following questions (also available as a student handout), making sure to provide evidence from the essay.1.17, 2017)Policy Question: Should students be allowed to protest, such as by kneeling during the national anthem, during school hours or while on school property?Constitutional Question: Does the First Amendment protect students’ right to protest during school hours or while on school property?If you want to extend the debrief, you can choose one hypothetical situation to restate as a claim, such as “Public school students should be able to criticize school personnel and policies on social media.” Have one student take a stand for the statement.Have another student take a stand against the statement.Based on their understanding of the First Amendment, can the government ever draw reasonable limits?One idea that may emerge in the conversation is that speech is considered a fundamental liberty under American law and that even inflammatory speech, such as racist language by a leader of the Ku Klux Klan, should generally be protected unless it is likely to cause imminent violence (Brandenburg v. Then, have students read one of these three New York Times articles about speech issues in the news that might affect their lives._________While Americans generally agree that the First Amendment to the Constitution protects the freedom of speech, there are disagreements over when, where, how and if speech should be ever limited or restricted.This lesson plan encourages students to examine their own assumptions about what freedom of speech really means, as well as to deepen their understanding of the current accepted interpretation of speech rights under the First Amendment.


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