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Analyze the implications of the 1st and 2nd Amendments to the U.S. Constitution - Essay Example

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Among the most controversial issues of our time are those rooted in the 1st and 2nd Amendments to the Constitution: the freedom of the press to protect their sources of information, the separation of church and state, and gun control. These issues are among the most heated and divisive topics in modern public discourse…
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Analyze the implications of the 1st and 2nd Amendments to the U.S. Constitution
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Download file to see previous pages The Bill of Rights is arguably the most crucial portion of the Constitution because it ensures that our system of majority rule will not degenerate into a system of mob rule. It is designed to protect the rights of the minority from an unfettered majority that might otherwise trample those rights. The protection of minority rights that is enshrined within the Bill of Rights facilitates an open political system in which dissent is tolerated under the law and informs the political process. In essence, protection of minority rights such as freedom to criticize the government and freedom of the press to openly report on government activities is the reason why the United States is able to have a legitimate political system marked by free and fair elections. If minority rights were squashed, it would lead to a governmental system more akin to communism, in which the majority party becomes the only legal party because they essentially outlaw the opposition. The First and Second Amendments to the Constitution are critically important components of the scheme to protect minority rights in America.
The First Amendment to the ...
It is no accident that these three basic freedoms are outlined within the first of ten Amendments. It is likely that the Framers of the Constitution considered these to be the most important of all the rights that need to be protected from the will of the majority, in order to establish a truly open and free democratic republic.
Among the many current issues that have arisen out of the First Amendment is the question of the extent to which the press has the right to protect its sources. The jailing us New York Times reporter Judith Miller for failing to reveal her source in the matter of the leak of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame raises the specter of the government's ability to chill press freedom to investigate and report on sensitive government matters. Ultimately, it was found that the interest of the state in prosecuting criminals and providing for national security trumps the right of reporters to refuse to disclose their sources. The implications of this finding are grave; and it remains to be seen whether investigative reporting in America will be severely weakened in the future as potential sources of information refuse to come forward for fear that the government might force disclosure of their identities. That result could end up depriving the public of important information they need to develop informed opinions about public matters.
Another First Amendment issue that continues to be relevant is the doctrine of Separation of Church and State. The First Amendment guarantees that "Congress shall make no law respecting the Establishment of a religion," nor shall the government be allowed to prohibit free exercise of religion. In essence, the First Amendment guarantees that the government, in all its ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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