Freedom of Speech and Related Supreme Court Cases

The First Amendment is all about promoting the freedom of words and having no limits to different opinions. The initial cause for its creation was to establish a dialogue between the government and the population. Although people are supposed to speak their minds freely, some kinds of speech get less protection than others. Depending on the occasion, particular words and statements can be prohibited even if they do not violate the First Amendment law. Speech is a powerful tool that might influence the public moods and the court’s decisions while investigating the cases. In the first place, it is reasonable to identify what types of speech are under the First Amendment law.

In general, the First Amendment allows all types of speech except for particular topics and aspects. Individuals or a group of individuals can perform political speeches, for example. It means that the citizens can openly criticize the government and express their beliefs connected with religion and ideology. Commercial speech is also under protection, although it receives less support in the court. The unprotected speech, however, is more specific and defined precisely. It includes actual threats directly connected with crime, child pornography, violations of copyright rules, behavior norms such as profanity, and other related types (Mauro, 2021). The one characteristic that unites all the unprotected types of speeches is their harm and direct damage to the people and the social environment. Child pornography, for instance, breaks several laws due to the absence and immorality of such crime. Threats and words that would contribute to the crime’s performance are also considered unacceptable and are not protected by the First Amendment law.

The expression of opinion cannot be punished, although slander or speech that is a part of a crime may be. Still, depending on the occasion, some speech performances might be considered inappropriate and penalized. For example, in the workplace, the management might create rules that would forbid vulgar words and phrases, although the First Amendment does not prohibit it. In some cases, employees can be fired if they neglect the corporate rules on the speech. The same applies to governmental or educational institutions where the ability to express the opinion still exists properly without mentioning anything obscene.

Some of the most important decisions in the Supreme Court are connected with the right to free speech. The case that gained wide popularity happened during the peak of the Vietnam war. Mary Beth Tinker wore a black strip on her arm as a sign of protests against the war, and some students joined her (Bomboy, 2018). In the court, the decision was made in favor of the student, for they should have their rights to express their political opinion in the school if it does not interrupt the study process.

Another significant case was as well in the period of the Vietnam war when the White House attempted to prevent public access to private information regarding the war. Still, the court declined the request (Bomboy, 2018). Allowing that to happen would mean that he has more power than he legitimately should have. Therefore, the freedom of speech allows the civilians to express their concerns and opinions in public pickets and demonstrations. Regularly, as long as it is peaceful and does not interfere with everyday living. However, police still might take measures in some cases, and eventually, the fight between the people and police officers might start.

Due process should guarantee all the people, especially the accused, the right to fair and honest judgment. The United States seems to have a high interest in justice and is constantly working on its improvement. The government aims to provide the citizens with the opportunities to defend themselves and prove their innocence while the process is going. Nowadays, several reforms have already been made to contribute to the transparency and equality of the trial process. In order to get justice and provide the civilians with their rights, there are exists several amendments. The Fourth Amendment prevents people from searching for their apartments or workplace for unmotivated search and intervention (FindLaw Attorney Writers, 2021). To avoid mistakes and misunderstandings, the police should have proof and weighted reasons to investigate the private place of the person. Therefore, accused people can be sure that the investigation is fair and the law will protect them at any cause.

In the toughest cases, the Fifth Amendment demands a trial before the main hearing to clarify the situation and better prepare when the process officially begins. When the sentence passes and the person is not found guilty, there is no option for the person accused of being prosecuted one more time (FindLaw Attorney Writers, 2021). The Fifth Amendment allows the suspects not to answer questions that could compromise or expose them to the judges in the court. When the government arrests the belongings and properties of the accused people, the law protects them and [provides compensation.

The Sixth Amendment ensures that trial is occurring by unbiased judges and prosecutors, and the details of the case are not hidden from the public. It also lets the people know all the accusations and proofs that would confirm and support the charges (FindLaw Attorney Writers, 2021). Their representatives should also appear in the court while the possible witnesses give testimony that is not beneficial for the accused. Along the way, the lawyer has always been by the suspect’s side and ensured his clients with the witnesses from his side that would speak in their defense.

The jury’s actions should also be regulated and under control to guarantee the legal and honest decision-making process and execution of a sentence. The Eighth Amendment claims the rational amount of the pledge according to the crime the person is suspected in. When the jury eventually decides on the sentence, it should be equal to the crime committed and not be tougher or weaker than the offense the person is charged for (FindLaw Attorney Writers, 2021). However, no matter how obscene or cruel the crime, the judges have no right to punish the accused with unethical and irregular measures. According to the Fourteen Amendment, the citizens have the right to a fair trial, collect proof and legit evidence, and get all the necessary measures during the trial (FindLaw Attorney Writers, 2021). It provides them with protection and demands from judges to decide their faith without any racial, sexists, or homophobic prejudices.

Some examples from the history were when the Court, in the case of Brown against the Board of Education, decided that the division of education institutions by race is not fair. Even if the conditions are equal, the act of separating black from white is not fair (NCC Staff, 2020). Another case when the indigent Gideon was a charger for the illegal entrance represents the power of the fourteen amendments. The court refused to provide him with a lawyer even though he was poor and had the right to get an attorney (NCC Staff, 2020). Eventually, when Gideon asked for an appeal, the Supreme Court supported him and claimed that he should be provided with a lawyer according to the law.


Bomboy, S. (2018). Supreme Court cases where students influenced the Constitution. National Constitution Center. Web.

FindLaw Attorney Writers. (2021). Due Process for Criminal Defendants. FindLaw. Web.

Mauro T. (2021). Perspective: Is the Supreme Court Still a Defender of Press Freedom? Freedom Forum. Web.

NCC Staff. (2020). 10 Supreme Court cases about the 14th Amendment. Constitution daily. Web.

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1. LawBirdie. "Freedom of Speech and Related Supreme Court Cases." September 3, 2023.


LawBirdie. "Freedom of Speech and Related Supreme Court Cases." September 3, 2023.