First Amendment Quotes

Quotes tagged as "first-amendment" Showing 1-30 of 115
John  Adams
“The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”
John Adams, Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife

Neil deGrasse Tyson
“People cited violation of the First Amendment when a New Jersey schoolteacher asserted that evolution and the Big Bang are not scientific and that Noah's ark carried dinosaurs. This case is not about the need to separate church and state; it's about the need to separate ignorant, scientifically illiterate people from the ranks of teachers.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson

Christopher Hitchens
“When the Washington Post telephoned me at home on Valentine's Day 1989 to ask my opinion about the Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwah, I felt at once that here was something that completely committed me. It was, if I can phrase it like this, a matter of everything I hated versus everything I loved. In the hate column: dictatorship, religion, stupidity, demagogy, censorship, bullying, and intimidation. In the love column: literature, irony, humor, the individual, and the defense of free expression. Plus, of course, friendship—though I like to think that my reaction would have been the same if I hadn't known Salman at all. To re-state the premise of the argument again: the theocratic head of a foreign despotism offers money in his own name in order to suborn the murder of a civilian citizen of another country, for the offense of writing a work of fiction. No more root-and-branch challenge to the values of the Enlightenment (on the bicentennial of the fall of the Bastille) or to the First Amendment to the Constitution, could be imagined. President George H.W. Bush, when asked to comment, could only say grudgingly that, as far as he could see, no American interests were involved…”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Howard Zinn
“I was astonished, bewildered. This was America, a country where, whatever its faults, people could speak, write, assemble, demonstrate without fear. It was in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. We were a democracy...

But I knew it wasn't a dream; there was a painful lump on the side of my head...

The state and its police were not neutral referees in a society of contending interests. They were on the side of the rich and powerful. Free speech? Try it and the police will be there with their horses, their clubs, their guns, to stop you.

From that moment on, I was no longer a liberal, a believer in the self-correcting character of American democracy. I was a radical, believing that something fundamental was wrong in this country--not just the existence of poverty amidst great wealth, not just the horrible treatment of black people, but something rotten at the root. The situation required not just a new president or new laws, but an uprooting of the old order, the introduction of a new kind of society--cooperative, peaceful, egalitarian.”
Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times

William O. Douglas
“Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us."

[The One Un-American Act, Speech to the Author's Guild Council in New York, on receiving the 1951 Lauterbach Award (December 3, 1952)]”
William O. Douglas

Judy Blume
“Censors never go after books unless kids already like them. I don’t even think they know to go after books until they know that children are interested in reading this book, therefore there must be something in it that’s wrong.”
Judy Blume

James Madison
“Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.

[Letter to Edward Livingston, 10 July 1822 - Writings 9:100--103]”
James Madison, James Madison: Writings

Philip Pullman
“Religion grants its adherents malign, intoxicating and morally corrosive sensations. Destroying intellectual freedom is always evil, but only religion makes doing evil feel quite so good.”
Philip Pullman

John F. Kennedy
“From time to time our national history has been marred by forgetfulness of the Jeffersonian principle that restraint is at the heart of liberty. In 1789 the Federalists adopted Alien and Sedition Acts in a shabby political effort to isolate the Republic from the world and to punish political criticism as seditious libel. In 1865 the Radical Republicans sought to snare private conscience in a web of oaths and affirmations of loyalty. Spokesmen for the South did service for the Nation in resisting the petty tyranny of distrustful vengeance. In the 1920's the Attorney General of the United States degraded his office by hunting political radicals as if they were Salem witches. The Nation's only gain from his efforts were the classic dissents of Holmes and Brandeis.

In our own times, the old blunt instruments have again been put to work. The States have followed in the footsteps of the Federalists and have put Alien and Sedition Acts upon their statute books. An epidemic of loyalty oaths has spread across the Nation until no town or village seems to feel secure until its servants have purged themselves of all suspicion of non-conformity by swearing to their political cleanliness.

Those who love the twilight speak as if public education must be training in conformity, and government support of science be public aid of caution.

We have also seen a sharpening and refinement of abusive power. The legislative investigation, designed and often exercised for the achievement of high ends, has too frequently been used by the Nation and the States as a means for effecting the disgrace and degradation of private persons. Unscrupulous demagogues have used the power to investigate as tyrants of an earlier day used the bill of attainder.

The architects of fear have converted a wholesome law against conspiracy into an instrument for making association a crime. Pretending to fear government they have asked government to outlaw private protest. They glorify "togetherness" when it is theirs, and call it conspiracy when it is that of others.

In listing these abuses I do not mean to condemn our central effort to protect the Nation's security. The dangers that surround us have been very great, and many of our measures of vigilance have ample justification. Yet there are few among us who do not share a portion of the blame for not recognizing soon enough the dark tendency towards excess of caution.”
John F. Kennedy

Rush Limbaugh
“The way liberals are interpreting the First Amendment today is that it prevents anyone who is religious from being in government.”
Rush Limbaugh, The Way Things Ought to Be

Robert B. Reich
“A funny thing happened to the First Amendment on its way to the public forum. According to the Supreme Court, money is now speech and corporations are now people. But when real people without money assemble to express their dissatisfaction with the political consequences of this, they’re treated as public nuisances and evicted.”
Robert Reich

Robert H. Jackson
“Struggles to coerce uniformity of sentiment in support of some end thought essential to their time and country have been waged by many good as well as by evil men. Nationalism is a relatively recent phenomenon but at other times and places the ends have been racial or territorial security, support of a dynasty or regime, and particular plans for saving souls. As first and moderate methods to attain unity have failed, those bent on its accomplishment must resort to an ever-increasing severity. . . . Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

It seems trite but necessary to say that the First Amendment to our Constitution was designed to avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings. There is no mysticism in the American concept of the State or of the nature or origin of its authority. We set up government by consent of the governed, and the Bill of Rights denies those in power any legal opportunity to coerce that consent. Authority here is to be controlled by public opinion, not public opinion by authority.

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”
Robert H. Jackson

Mark M. Bello
“Change was, indeed, possible, one person at a time.”
Mark M. Bello, Betrayal of Justice

U.S. Congress
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.
United States Congress

Mark M. Bello
“As John finished his speech, Zack couldn’t help but wonder how a country that had been served by a brilliant and inclusive president for eight years now chose to elect a narcissistic, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic racist with no experience in government.”
Mark M. Bello, Betrayal of Justice

Mark M. Bello
“The ages of individual Supreme Court Justices were of significant concern to Zack, as were the nominations President John would make if these elderly Supreme Court Justices retired or passed away. Zack smiled to himself and wished the justices good health and long life.”
Mark M. Bello, Betrayal of Justice

Dennis Prager
“There are two ways to choke off free expression. We've already discussed one of them: clamp down on free speech and declare some topics off-limits. That strategy is straightforward enough. The other, more insidious way to limit free expression is to try to change the very language people use.”
Dennis Prager, No Safe Spaces

“It struck me that there is a reason James Madison put freedom of speech and freedom of the press in the very first amendment. If we can't speak out, if we cannot challenge those in power, there is no guaranteeing the rights that follow.”
Jonathan Karl, Front Row at the Trump Show

Mark M. Bello
“This is a constitutional democracy, not a dictatorship. Unchecked power, even if well-intentioned, is the reason the geniuses that founded our democracy set it up the way they did.”
Mark M. Bello, Betrayal of Justice

Dennis Prager
“If you want to have everybody agreeing with you, join a club or program or church that agrees with you.”
Dennis Prager, No Safe Spaces

“Most reasonable people are ok with folks having a strong opinion about something. Where the smoke starts, is when those same people try to make you think YOUR BELIEFS are wrong (or stupid). Respect begets respect. That 1st Amendment reaches well past anyone's circle of like-minded friends.”
Liz Faublas, You Have a Superpower: Mindi PI Meets Bailey

Mark M. Bello
“We travel to sporting events, to work, to school, and we feel safe doing so, because people we don’t know are working under our radar, keeping us safe. All of these unseen, unknown, under-appreciated law enforcement officers deserve the Medal of Valor. They place the public safety ahead of their own safety, loving their neighbors more than themselves.”
Mark M. Bello, Betrayal of Justice

Mark M. Bello
“Why do I feel like taking a shower every time I finish talking to that man?”
Mark M. Bello, Betrayal of Justice

Mark M. Bello
“Imagine what the public outcry would be if the president stated he didn’t wish Blacks or Jews to settle in the United States, not because they’re Jewish or black, but because he is afraid of them. Since his motivation is fear, not race or religion, he is not discriminating. That rationale, as fictional President Andrew Shepard declared in the movie The American President, would make him the ‘President of Fantasyland.”
Mark M. Bello, Betrayal of Justice

Mark M. Bello
“The Constitution lives!”
Mark M. Bello, Betrayal of Justice

Mark M. Bello
“I look forward to proving you wrong and making a fool out of you, Farhad.”
“I shall look forward to the making of a fool, sir,” Farhad quipped. He was tired of this nonsense, president or not.”
Mark M. Bello, Betrayal of Justice

Mark M. Bello
“A horrible year in which faith was tested and justice was betrayed transitioned into a new year, one filled with the joyful and tangible rebirth of love, justice, faith, and, as Allah willed it, salaam. Peace.”
Mark M. Bello, Betrayal of Justice

“The First Amendment states, 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' which I understand to mean that government cannot establish a national religion, but neither can it prevent citizens from displaying their religious beliefs in public spaces.”
Claston Bernard, Outcast: No Room at the Table for Conservative Blacks in Black America

A.E. Samaan
“The United States went from the undisputed leader in the "Idea Economy" to a censored and barren wasteland of "wokeness" in one generation.”
A.E. Samaan

Jerry Falwell
“The idea that religion and politics don't mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country.”
Jerry Falwell

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