Issues Related to Speech, Press, Assembly, or Petition
The competing right under Roe v. Wade of women’s access to abortion clinics
must be balanced against the First Amendment rights of abortion protesters.
Academic freedom is a First Amendment principle that teachers, students and
educational institutions should be able to pursue knowledge without
Although the First Amendment doesn’t mention freedom of access to
courtrooms, the Supreme Court has held that the public right to attend
criminal proceedings is implied.
Actual malice is the legal standard the Supreme Court uses to protect the
media in libel cases in determining when public officials or figures may
win damages in lawsuits.
In First Amendment law, ad hoc balancing involves judging cases on their
unique facts, rejecting formulaic tests to determine whether speech is
protected or not.
Mere advocacy of illegal conduct was not protected by the First Amendment
until Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), which created the incitement to imminent
lawless action test.
Two Supreme Court cases involving affirmative action relied in part on the
First Amendment to protect a university’s admission rights and to uphold
use of racial preferences.
Alcohol advertising is protected under the First Amendment as long as it
does not promote unlawful activity and is not misleading, but it can be
Although the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution makes no distinction
between citizens and noncitizens, the Court has not always treated these
groups the same.
The Supreme Court has protected anonymity under the First Amendment, but it
has balanced this protection against competing interests, notably in the
area of political activity.
Artistic expression has historically been subject to some measure of
censorship in the United States. The First Amendment provides significant
protection to artistic expression.
Bar regulators attempt to protect the public from misleading attorney ads
while ensuring that attorneys retain a measure of First Amendment free
Lawyers do not forfeit all of their free-speech rights as members of a
profession, but their speech rights are limited in many ways. Rules of
professional conduct adopted by the supreme courts in each state, for
example, prohibit lawyers from making false statements about judges,
writing legal papers that are deemed “frivolous,” engaging in speech that
disrupts the tribunal or engaging in direct, face-to-face solicitation of
prospective clients, with a few exceptions.
Whether judges can prohibit attorneys from wearing pins or symbols with a
political message in a courtroom is an unsettled First Amendment issue
highlighted recently in Las Vegas.
The bad tendency test became the most influential standard used by courts
to determine whether criticism of the government during World War I was
protected by the First Amendment.
Ballot access refers to procedures regulating how candidates will be
presented to voters in elections. Ballot access continues to be the subject
of First Amendment debate.
The bar admission process has produced many First Amendment-based
challenges, especially when an applicant is denied because of past
political associations or beliefs.
Regulation of billboards raises many First Amendment issues such as to what
extent can the government limit access to public billboards or prohibit
privately owned billboards?
Birth control is a way by which pregnancy from sexual intercourse can be
prevented. Communication about birth control has not always received First
Black Lives Matter is a protest movement to call attention to police
treatment of Black Americans. Response to protests have sometimes led to a
chilling effect on First Amendment freedoms.
In the 1940s-’50s, a blacklist named people whose opinions or associations
were deemed Communist. Opponents said blacklists and HUAC hearings violated
Book banning, the most widespread form of censorship, occurs when books are
pulled from libraries, school reading lists, or bookstores because someone
objects to their content.
Courts have recognized boycotts as having First Amendment protection as
long as their goals are to influence political reform rather than economic
Courts have ruled that the First Amendment protects bumper stickers even
when they are profane. This protection is less certain for public employees
and military personnel.
Allowing cameras in courtrooms has stirred controversy and led to Supreme
Court decisions in First Amendment cases. The Court has allowed states to
experiment with this issue.
Courts having ruled that college campus speech codes violate students’
First Amendment rights, but arguments that colleges have a legitimate
interest in such regulations continue.
The captive audience doctrine protects people in certain places and
circumstances from unwanted speech. It is an exception to the First
Censorship occurs when individuals or groups try to prevent others from
expressing themselves. Government censorship violates the freedoms of
speech and of the press.
The Supreme Court developed the Central Hudson test for determining when
government could limit commercial speech without violating the First
While laws aimed at curbing solicitations by charities have been overturned
on First Amendment grounds, charities can be required to disclose how their
money is spent.
The Supreme Court has ruled some laws outlawing child pornography and
children’s access to obscene materials were too broad and infringed upon
First Amendment rights.
Chilling effect is the concept of deterring First Amendment free speech and
association rights through laws or regulations that appear to target
The Supreme Court in 1971 ruled that the government cannot restrain in
advance the press from publishing classified documents under the First
In the 20th century, the Supreme Court established the clear and present
danger test as the predominate standard for determining when speech is
protected by the First Amendment.
Commercial speech is a form of protected communication under the First
Amendment, but it does not receive as much free speech protection as forms
of noncommercial speech.
In 1973, the Supreme Court said that community standards must be taken into
account in determining whether something was obscene or could be protected
by the First Amendment.
The Supreme Court, while allowing the removal of the Confederate flag to
stop disruption, has declined to find that flag infringes upon the rights
of those who find it repugnant.
Government entities have grappled with whether to remove Confederate
monuments from public grounds. Individuals have the First Amendment right
to keep statues on private property.
Some courts recognize a reporters’ privilege to not reveal confidential
sources as a First Amendment right, but each jurisdiction varies in the
level of protection.
The Court has ruled that some laws passed by Congress violate the First
Amendment. Some congressional investigations have raised questions about
the right of association.
Cold War-era congressional investigations led to the Court recognizing the
First Amendment right of an individual to refuse to answer questions about
Civil contempt of court can be fixed by obeying court orders. Criminal
contempt involves violating the dignity of the court and is more likely to
raise First Amendment issues.
A content-based law discriminates against speech based on the substance of
what is communicated. In contrast, a content-neutral law applies without
regard to its substance.
In First Amendment free speech cases, laws that are content neutral apply
to all expression without regard to any particular message or substance.
The Supreme Court has acknowledged the compatibility of copyright and First
Amendment free expression, but tension does exist as owners often seek to
Can the government restrict gatherings, including church services, during
the coronavirus outbreak or is that a violation of the First Amendment
religious freedom and assembly clauses? The government has broad powers
during a health crisis. As long as restrictions apply equally, and not
single out churches, courts would likely uphold them.
Corporate speech refers to the rights of corporations to advertise their
products and to speak to matters of public concern, including by spending
money in elections.
The counterspeech doctrine, first articulated by Louis Brandeis in First
Amendment jurisprudence in 1927, posits that the remedy for false speech is
more speech that is true.
In the United States, courts have based decisions regarding slanderous or
libelous statements on the First Amendment rights of free speech and
freedom of the press.
Cross burning, which has been used as a form of intimidation against
African Americans and Jews, has been defended in the courts on free speech
Cyberbullying, bullying through electronic means, presents First Amendment
issues when statutes criminalizing cyberbullying are overly broad or vague.
Cybersquatting is considered to be abusive registration of domain names to
appropriate a trademark. Cybersquatters may claim a First Amendment right
Defamation lawsuits can have a chilling effect on free speech. The Supreme
Court first applied First Amendment protection from state libel laws in
1964 in New York Times v. Sullivan, establishing an actual malice standard
that had to be met by public officials.
The government mandates advertising disclaimers to protect consumers, but
they often present a First Amendment issue. Some say forced disclaimers are
a form of compelled speech.
Individuals and organizations that act in a political forum are subject to
disclosure requirements. Some say such laws impinge on First Amendment
Fighting foreign disinformation operations in America collided with fear of
government control of information in the Department of Homeland Security’s
short-lived Disinformation Governance Board.
Several state legislators passed laws in 2021 and 2022 limiting the
discussion of race in public schools, raising questions about free speech
and academic freedom.
Door-to-door solicitation by political parties, religious groups, and
businesses can lead to clashes between First Amendment freedoms and
homeowners’ privacy rights.
Wide-scale electronic communication has brought the government’s desire to
control encryption technology into sharp conflict with First Amendment and
Fourth Amendment rights.
Exacting scrutiny is a form of close judicial review used by the U.S.
Supreme Court to evaluate restrictions on speech in campaign finance,
election law and compelled disclosures. It appears to be a form of review
somewhere between strict scrutiny and intermediate scrutiny.
The media argue that exit polling is a form of expression protected by the
First Amendment. States seeking to regulate the practice contend it
disrupts the electoral process.
Express advocacy is the use of words like “vote for” in political
communications. It’s protected by the First Amendment, but the spending of
money on such advocacy may be limited.
The fair report privilege is a state-law defense to defamation claims used
by journalists, although the level of protection may vary by state. Under
the privilege, a journalist is insulated from a defamation claim when he or
she publishes a defamatory comment that was part of official affairs of the
Fair use allows copyrighted works to be used in ways that would infringe on
the copyright. Fair use is a way of preventing copyright from violating of
the First Amendment.
False claims by Donald Trump’s attorneys about the 2020 presidential
election results have prompted some experts to observe the limits of First
Amendment free speech protections for attorneys who make misleading public
False light invasion of privacy, portraying an individual unflatteringly in
words or pictures as someone that person is not, is not protected by the
Because the First Amendment is designed to further the truth, it may not
protect individuals who engage in libel. Generally, the government does not
stand as the definer of truth.
The fighting words doctrine, an exception to First Amendment-protected
speech, lets government limit speech when it is likely to incite immediate
retaliation by those who hear it.
Films, which are protected by the First Amendment, have addressed several
First Amendment-related topics, including the freedoms of religion, speech,
Federal appellate courts have ruled that people have a First Amendment
right to film police interactions with citizens.
Flag desecration is one of the most polarizing First Amendment issues. The
Court has handed down decisions on flag desecration, holding it to be
Although the Court has said that the FCC can regulate fleeting expletives,
it has also overturned FCC sanctions, not on First Amendment grounds, but
because of vague policies.
Many cities have tried to limit fortune telling, contending that the
practice amounts to attempted fraud. Fortune tellers argue that the
regulations violate the First Amendment.
Freedom of speech often suffers during times of war. Patriotism at times
devolves into jingoism and civil liberties take a backseat to security and
Free-speech zones refer to areas on college campuses and at certain public
events specifically designated for demonstrators to exercise their right to
freedom of speech.
The First Amendment guarantees “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” The notion that the act of gathering is pivotal to a functioning democracy relates to the belief that individuals espousing ideas will tend to coalesce around their commonalities. As a result, a correlative right of association — though not enumerated in the First Amendment
Gag orders on trial participants are often used to ensure fair trials. Gag
orders on the press must meet high standards set by the courts to avoid
The American Psychiatric Association prohibits members from offering
opinions about the mental state of public figures under the Goldwater Rule,
which it adopted after public evaluations of presidential candidate Barry
Goldwater’s psychiatric state.
The Supreme Court has generally supported speech restrictions on government
funding, even when those restrictions may have a chilling effect on First
Under the government speech doctrine, the government has its own rights as
speaker that can assert its own messages, immune from challenges of
Court rulings in the 2nd and 4th Circuit Courts of Appeal establish that
when a government official opens up a social media account for public
comment, the section of the site that is interactive is a designated public
forum. As such, the First Amendment prohibits government officials from
engaging in viewpoint discrimination.
Court decisions have interpreted the First Amendment establishment clause
as prohibiting prayers in public schools during both school hours and
The gravity of the evil test is a refinement of the clear and present
danger test to determine when First Amendment free speech may be subject to
Since the 1900s, group libel, the defamation of an entire group of people,
has coexisted uneasily with the First Amendment’s emphasis on individual
Hair regulations in schools, prisons and workplaces have led to First
Amendment battles, with litigants challenging policies for violating
Although the First Amendment still protects much hate speech, there has
been much debate on the subject in the past two decades among lawmakers and
The practice of flashing headlights to alert other drivers to an upcoming
patrol car has been claimed as a form of expression protected under the
A heckler’s veto occurs when the government restricts speech because of the
reactions of opponents of the speech. Courts have said hecklers’ vetoes
violate the First Amendment.
The Heffron principle is used to reject free-speech claims when claimants
have other avenues of expression open. The principle can infringe upon
First Amendment rights.
The Hicklin Test, an obscenity standard originating in England, was
initially used in America but did not survive constitutional challenges
based on the First Amendment.
While other countries have prosecuted Holocaust deniers, the United States
has had a different response, due to the freedom of speech ensured in the
The practice of homeschooling in America falls within parents’ and
students’ protected First Amendment rights of free speech and the free
exercise of religion.
Motorists argue that honking car horns is a form of expression or protest
protected by the First Amendment. Courts have mostly rejected this argument.
Many Supreme Court cases upholding restrictions on subversive speech have
relied on the idea that such speech is forbidden because it incites
violence or illegal actions.
The FCC defines indecency in the broadcast industries and regulates the
content of television and radio broadcasts to prevent the airing of
The Court faces challenges in dealing with regulation of online speech
because of the internet’s unique ability to spread information quickly and
An intrusion on seclusion claim applies when someone intentionally
intrudes, physically or through electronic surveillance, upon the solitude
or seclusion of another.
Issue advocacy refers to advertising on public issues unregulated by
political campaign finance laws. Laws regulating issue advocacy have had
mixed results in the courts.
To promote judicial impartiality, states have regulated judicial campaign
statements, but recent court decisions have granted such comments greater
First Amendment protection.
Libel and slander lawsuits can have a chilling effect on free speech. The
First Amendment rights of free speech and free press often clash with the
interests served by libel laws.
The libel-proof plaintiff doctrine is a concept that insulates a defendant
from defamation liability for statements made about someone who has no good
reputation to protect.
Libraries protect the right to receive information, a concept in First
Amendment jurisprudence that can protect against some book banning and
The constitutionality of loyalty oaths is part of the struggle between the
government’s regulation of threats to national security and the First
Amendment rights of citizens.
Throughout U.S. history, the mail has played a crucial role in shaping
jurisprudence on free expression, but its impact on the First Amendment has
diminished in recent years.
The marketplace of ideas refers to the belief that the test of the truth or
acceptance of ideas depends on their competition with one another and not
on the opinion of a censor.
Critics of ownership concentration in the news media business say that it
threatens the marketplace of ideas and poses a threat to First Amendment
To promote diversity of ideas under the First Amendment, the Supreme Court
has sometimes allowed news media organizations to have exemptions to
The free speech and freedom of association clauses of the First Amendment
generally prevent the government from requiring associations to disclose
their members’ names.
Experts believe the middle finger gesture does not rise to the legal
standard of obscenity or fighting words. However, they do believe students
can be punished for the gesture.
The Miller Test is the primary legal test for determining whether
expression constitutes obscenity. It is named after the Supreme Court’s
decision in Miller v. California (1973).
Appropriation is the unauthorized use of a person’s likeness for financial
gain. Although appropriation may involve speech, it is not protected by the
The First Amendment limits the degree to which governments can censor
movies. The Motion Picture Association of America uses a voluntary system
of movie ratings to inform parents.
First Amendment challenges to music have focused on claims that the lyrics
are obscene, that they incite violence, or that they are harmful to minors.
The term “narrowly tailored” refers to laws regulating First Amendment
rights. These must be written to place as few restrictions as possible on
First Amendment liberties.
It has been proposed that United States residents be required to carry
proof of identity, but critics of the idea argue that the proposal would
raise First Amendment concerns.
Despite the First Amendment, perceived risks to national security have
prompted the government to restrict First Amendment freedoms throughout
Neutral reportage protects from libel claims media that accurately and
objectively report newsworthy charges against public figures as part of an
Laws restricting speech are subject to strict scrutiny to ensure they are
neutral under the First Amendment. They can not discriminate against speech
the government disfavors.
The Noerr-Pennington doctrine is a judicially created defense against
certain business torts (wrongful acts) for activity that implicates the
First Amendment petition right.
According to the Supreme Court, nude dancing, when performed before an
audience to convey feelings of eroticism, is expressive conduct triggering
First Amendment review.
Obscenity refers to a narrow category of pornography that violates
contemporary community standards and has no serious literary, artistic,
political or scientific value.
Overbreadth provides that a regulation of speech can sweep too broadly and
prohibit speech protected by the First Amendment as well as non-protected
Pandering, when distributors or booksellers merchandise works in salacious
terms, is a First Amendment issue because of laws that ban mailing obscene
Courts have consistently ruled that private speech that takes place in
public in the form of a parade or march is constitutionally protected by
the First Amendment.
Perjury is not protected by the First Amendment because it undermines the
ability of courts to obtain truthful testimony and to effectively
The Pickering Connick test refers to a longstanding test in First Amendment
law used by courts to determine whether a public employer violated an
employee’s free-expression rights. The test considers whether a public
employee spoke on matters of public concern, and if the speech outweighed
the interest in a disruptive-free workplace.
Since Thornhill v. Alabama (1940), courts have held that picketing triggers
First Amendment review. Governments can restrict the time, place, and
manner of picketing.
A federal law that prohibits pickets in front of a judge’s home with the
intent of influencing the judge could be considered a reasonable time,
place and manner restriction under the First Amendment.
The Supreme Court has ruled that compelling schoolchildren to recite the
Pledge of Allegiance violates the First Amendment. The Court has not struck
“under God” from the pledge.
Political correctness is based on the belief that offensive speech and
behavior should be eliminated. Politically correct legislation can violate
the First Amendment.
Political parties enjoy significant protection under the First Amendment.
It is not always clear who is the “political party” and who can assert
First Amendment rights.
Political patronage is the hiring of a person to a government post based on
partisan loyalty. Some say that the practice penalizes First Amendment
rights of political association.
The First Amendment appears to provide a special right for the press,
however the Supreme Court has taken a narrow view of the “press clause” and
held that the press does not have greater rights than those accorded to the
public in general. Some scholars have criticized this viewpoint and argued
that the press role of keeping the public informed calls for a different
Prior restraint allows the government to review the content of printed
materials and prevent their publication. Prior restraint usually violates
the First Amendment.
Privacy generally refers to an individual’s right to seclusion or right to
be free from public interference. Often privacy claims clash with First
The Supreme Court generally has rejected arguments that the First Amendment
requires private property owners to accommodate expressive speech by
Under modern First Amendment jurisprudence profanity cannot categorically
be banned but can be regulated when it applies to categories such as
fighting words or true threats.
The professional speech doctrine is a concept used by lower courts in
recent years to define and often limit the free-speech rights of
professionals when rendering counsel.
Many municipalities have enacted ordinances limiting or banning targeted
protests in residential areas. The issue presents a clash between privacy
and freedom of expression.
Public employees have a First Amendment right to speak on matters of public
concern as long as the speech is not outweighed by an the interest in a
To promote First Amendment freedom of speech, libel plaintiffs who are
public figures or officials must show a publisher acted with actual malice
to collect damages.
The public forum doctrine is an analytical tool used in First Amendment
jurisprudence to determine the constitutionality of speech restrictions
implemented on government property.
Public nudity is typically banned as a matter of regulating morals. Only
recently has the Supreme Court considered public nudity in terms of First
Amendment freedom of expression.
Under the qualified immunity doctrine, government officials could violate a
person’s First Amendment rights, but not face liability because the law was
not settled or known at the time the official engaged in such conduct.
The musical genre of rap, which often features a hard-core assessment of
inner city woes, has come under threats of censorship through the years in
a variety of contexts.
Efforts to regulate political campaigns often involve competing First
Amendment concerns, forcing the courts to adjudicate which rights deserve
The idea behind reporter’s privilege is that journalists have a limited
First Amendment right not to be forced to reveal a confidential source or
information in court.
Retaliatory arrests refer to arrests by law enforcement officials against
persons in retaliation for those persons’ First Amendment free-expression
Many states have adopted retraction statutes that allow the press to reduce
liability if they publish a correction within a certain time period.
Because defamatory statements are not considered protected under the First
Amendment, retraction help mitigate potential damages from an editorial
Under current First Amendment guidelines, any laws regulating revenge
pornography would have to be narrowly drawn and made in pursuit of a
“compelling state interest.”
Rhetorical hyperbole is a First Amendment-based doctrine that the Court has
used to provide protection to exaggerated, over-the-top speech in
In a case involving a North Carolina congressman’s right to run for
reelection to office in 2022, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
considered his claim of amnesty, but not his First Amendment claims.
The right of publicity is a right to legal action, designed to protect the
names and likenesses of celebrities against unauthorized exploitation for
The Supreme Court has held that the Constitution protects the right to
learn and teach foreign languages. The Court said this right falls under
the penumbra of the First Amendment.
The United States Supreme Court has recognized that the right to receive
information and ideas flows from the First Amendment protection of free
The FCC’s right to respond and reply allowed those criticized on radio and
TV broadcasts time to share their viewpoint on air to foster First
Amendment diversity of viewpoints.
When the U.S. military is a party to cases centering on First Amendment
rights, the Supreme Court generally defers to the government’s interest and
The First Amendment rights of prisoners have been sharply curtailed. When
analyzing prisoner speech claims, the Supreme Court has usually deferred to
Public school students enjoy First Amendment protection based on the type
of expression and their age. Students do not shed their First Amendment
rights at the schoolhouse gate.
In American jurisprudence, public school teachers, as public employees, do
not forfeit all of their First Amendment rights to free expression when
they accept employment.
Some robocall laws enacted by states have been overturned on First
Amendment grounds by U.S. Circuit Courts, but the 8th Circuit upheld
Minnesota’s law in 2017.
Under the safety valve theory of the First Amendment theory, the ability of
citizens to freely protest about government deters them from undertaking
Although it frequently comes under legal attack, satire, which humorously
mocks and scorns individuals and political practices, is protected speech
under the First Amendment.
The scarcity rationale is a legal reasoning that provides for more
government regulation and limited recognition of First Amendment freedoms
The secondary effects doctrine is used when content-based laws are aimed at
the secondary effects of protected expression. The laws can more easily
pass First Amendment scrutiny.
The self-government rationale justifies free speech protections of the
First Amendment by reasoning that self-government depends on a free and
robust democratic dialogue.
A SLAPP suit is a civil claimed filed against an individual or organization
for exercising their First Amendment right of petition about an issue of
Congress is under growing pressure to regulate spam in much the same way it
regulates telemarketing, but regulation of spam raises First Amendment free
Specialty license plates have been challenged as discriminatory, but the
Court has said the plates are government speech and immune from First
Under the Spence Test, used to determine whether expressive conduct is
protected by the First Amendment, such conduct must have an intended
message, likely to be understood.
Sports logos and mascots that may be offensive to Native Americans, African
Americans, or other racial and ethnic groups are generally protected by the
A federal judge blocked Florida’s Stop W.O.K.E. Act saying that it violates
the First Amendment by limiting professors at state schools from expressing
certain viewpoints related to race, sex and country of origin when relevant
to the curriculum.
The Supreme Court has ruled that under the First Amendment, decisions about
how to use student activity fees on college campuses must be viewpoint
The substantial disruption test is the standard developed by the Supreme
Court to determine when public school officials may discipline students for
The substantial truth doctrine, stemming from the First Amendment, allows
individuals to avoid liability in libel claims if the gist of the statement
was substantially true.
Interception of private communications via electronic surveillance raises
First Amendment concerns for the chilling effect it can have on free speech.
Swatting is the act of making fake 911 calls to prompt police to send a
SWAT team to a person the caller wants to harass. The First Amendment would
likely not protect swatting.
Symbolic speech consists of nonverbal, nonwritten forms of communication.
It is generally protected by the First Amendment unless it causes a
specific, direct threat.
Tattoos implicate the First Amendment because many municipalities have
sought to impose restrictions on tattooing. Courts have decided tattooing
is protected expressive conduct.
Newspaper taxation controversies that have emerged since the writing of the
First Amendment have largely focused on taxation used to penalize certain
Telemarketing implicates the First Amendment, which has not been viewed as
an absolute bar to regulation. Many regulations have passed First Amendment
Time, place and manner restrictions are content-neutral limitations imposed
by the government on expressive activity. These restrictions do not usually
violate the First Amendment.
The history of Times Square, known for its crowded streets and tourists,
reflects the momentous changes of the past century, including battles over
First Amendment freedoms.
As tobacco companies have learned, when making statements to the public
about products, there are limits to the free speech protections afforded
under the First Amendment.
The religious clauses of the First Amendment raise the issue of whether
individuals should be allowed to sue religious entities for similar tort
Truckers have boycotted coming into the U.S., causing supply chain issues,
over a requirement that they get vaccinated to cross the U.S./Canada
border. Their protests are probably protected by the First Amendment.
A true threat is a statement meant to frighten people into believing they
will be seriously harmed by the speaker. True threats are not protected by
the First Amendment.
Courts in the United States give particular scrutiny to vague laws relative
to First Amendment issues because of their possible chilling effect on
The Supreme Court has said that video games are entitled to First Amendment
protection, invalidating laws that try to limit the access of minors to
violent video games.
The First Amendment freedoms of press, speech, petition and assembly are all designed to encourage citizen participation in democracy and hold government officials accountable. Yet the First Amendment never cites the right to vote, the ultimate check on government corruption and incompetence. Voting is instead a process managed primarily by 50 different state legislatures.
The Watts factors refers to three factors the Supreme Court identified in
its true-threat decision to distinguish between speech protected by the
First Amendment and a true threat.
The First Amendment-related issue of whistleblowing, exposing illegal
conduct that violates norms of accountability, has been protected by
federal and state law.