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Freedom of Speech

             In the United States of America the First Amendment of the Constitution prohibits the .
             Federal, State, and Local governments from depriving citizens the freedom of speech .
             (Klotter 44). Freedom of speech not only includes verbal communication but also .
             consists of public acts such as pickets, protest demonstrations, parades, and artistic .
             expression (Klotter 44). Although the First Amendment guarantees the freedom of .
             speech the right to speak is not absolute and has particular limitations (Klotter 44).
             Legislatures are free to enact laws regulating conduct associated with speech because .
             the First Amendment protects the message but not all forms of conduct that is used to .
             carry out the communication (Klotter 48). In the court case United States v. O"Brien, the .
             Supreme Court established that police officers might enforce general laws of the .
             community that are important to the community interest and does not relate to supporting .
             the speakers message (Klotter 49). General community laws that may be enforced by .
             police officers in regards to freedom of speech include trespass, traffic violation, noise .
             violation, disorderly conduct, etc (Klotter 49).
             In the court case Texas v. Johnson, the Supreme Court decided that Johnson's actions .
             of burning a United States flag was a part of his message and not a restriction of conduct .
             (Klotter 50). Several members of Congress disagreed with the Supreme Court decision in .
             Texas v. Johnson and retaliated by enacting a federal flag desecration statute (Klotter 50). .
             Although the Supreme Court reconsidered their decision in United States v. Eichman, .
             they did not separate the action of flag burning from the message (Klotter 50).
             Certain forms of speech are punishable because of the content or message it .
             communicates to society (Klotter 51). Legislatures may enact laws that prohibits speech .
             if regulation is needed to advance governmental interest or the speech falls under the .

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