• The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to assemble and the right to petitioning.

  • Libel, a written defamation is not protected under the First Amendment.

  • Symbolic speech––deliberate expression of ideas through actions––is protected under the First Amendment.

  • Symbolic speech that incites a disruption of peace is not protected.

  • The government may not prohibit speech simply because it may offend the people.

  • The right to assemble permits the peaceful assembly of people for political, social, economic or religious purposes without the interference of the government. It also permits people to protest the government.

  • The right to petition allows the people to petition against the government or file lawsuits against the government.

  • The First Amendment establishes a separation of church and state. It prohibits the government from establishing a national religion or supporting one religion over another.

  • First Amendment rights do not necessarily apply to social media, as such companies are in the private sphere and can espouse their own policies.

  • Private institutions, including private universities, are not directly bound by the First Amendment because they are not governmental figures.

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