First Amendment Defined and Explained
The First Amendment protects not only the rights of speech and petition but also the right to contribute support to a political candidate or a ballot measure.2 min read
FIRST AMENDMENT [to the U.S. Constitution]
'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.'
For commercial speech to receive First Amendment protection, 'it at least must concern lawful activity and not be misleading.' . . . does not violate right to free speech because advertisements were . . . deceptive and misleading in a number of ways, and therefore are not entitled to First Amendment protection. People v. Morse, 21 Cal.App.4th 259, 266.
Special Considerations Relating to the First Amendment
It is well-settled that a 'prison inmate retains those First Amendment rights that are not inconsistent with his status as a prisoner or with the legitimate penological objectives of the corrections system.' Pell v. Procunier, 417 U.S. 817, 822 ('74).
'[A]ssisting in litigation to vindicate civil rights . . . and associating for the purpose of assisting persons seeking legal redress' are 'protected by the first amendment.' Rizzo v. Dawson, 778 F.2d 527, 531 (9th Cir.'85).
Several cases have outlined the 'contours' of the First Amendment right to challenge the police. The Supreme Court in City of Houston, Texas v. Hill, 482 U.S. 451 ('87), invalidated a Texas county's ordinance which made verbally challenging an officer in the line of duty unlawful. The Court stated that 'the First Amendment protects a significant amount of verbal criticism and challenge directed at police officers.' Id. at 461. Unless the speech is likely to produce 'a clear and present danger of a serious substantive evil,' the Court stated, it is protected. Id. Indeed, the Court continued, '[t]he freedom of individuals verbally to oppose or challenge police action without thereby risking arrest is one of the principal characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation from a police state.' Id. at 462-3.
Verbally confronting the police is a right all Americans have under the First Amendment. See Hill, 482 U.S. at 461; see also Quiroga, 16 Cal. App. 4th at 966.
Rights Related to Political Funding, Support, and Petitions
The First Amendment protects not only the rights of speech and petition but also the right to contribute financial and other support to a political candidate or a ballot measure. (Citizens Against Rent Control v. Berkeley (1981) 454 U.S. 290, 94.) In addition, the freedom to speak or to petition the government could hardly be protected from Government interference without a correlative associational freedom to engage in group effort toward these ends. (Roberts v. U.S. Jaycees (1984) 468 U.S. 609, 22 ; Hart v. Cult Awareness Network (1993) 13 Cal.App.4th 777, 90.)