What exactly is Freedom of Speech? The United States Courts website has helped me figure that out.
Freedom of speech includes the right:
- Not to speak (specifically, the right not to salute the flag).
West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943).
- Of students to wear black armbands to school to protest a war (“Students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate.”).
Tinker v. Des Moines, 393 U.S. 503 (1969).
- To use certain offensive words and phrases to convey political messages.
Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971).
- To contribute money (under certain circumstances) to political campaigns.
Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976).
- To advertise commercial products and professional services (with some restrictions).
Virginia Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Consumer Council, 425 U.S. 748 (1976); Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977).
- To engage in symbolic speech, e.g., burning the flag in protest.
Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989); United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990).
Freedom of speech does not include the right:
- To incite actions that would harm others (e.g. “[S]hout[ing] ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.”).
Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919).
- To make or distribute obscene materials.
Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957).
- To burn draft cards as an anti-war protest.
United States v. O’Brien, 391 U.S. 367 (1968).
- To permit students to print articles in a school newspaper over the objections of the school administration.
Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1983).
- Of students to make an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event.
Bethel School District #43 v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675 (1986).
- Of students to advocate illegal drug use at a school-sponsored event.
Morse v. Frederick, __ U.S. __ (2007).
Even though my right to freedom of speech is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, it is entirely possible that I am guilty of libel, slander, defamation. What do you think? Have I crossed the line on the good ole blog from time to time?