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First Amendment Rights

Dedicated Lawyer Protects Your First Amendment Rights in Montgomery, Alabama

Ardent legal support for religious freedom, free speech, and assembly

The First Amendment was the cornerstone of the Civil Rights Movement. Imagine if the federal government could have prevented the 1963 March on Washington or silenced Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. before he could say, “I have a dream.” Imagine if the Alabama state government had had the power to shut down the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church prior to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Imagine if the federal government had prevented television coverage of activities that were part of the Civil Rights Movement, or suppressed interviews of Civil Rights leaders. The peaceful progress we were able to achieve would have been impossible, and the country likely would have been gripped by another bloody civil war.

At McGuire & Associates, we fully appreciate the importance of our First Amendment freedoms, and we are prepared to fight so our clients can enjoy the full benefits of living in a free society.

Staunch defense of your First Amendment freedoms

While the body of the U.S. Constitution establishes a framework for government, the Bill of Rights sets limits to government’s power by detailing specifically what government cannot do. The freedoms listed in the First Amendment are perhaps the most important for maintaining a free society governed by reason and persuasion rather than brute force. However, even though these freedoms are essential, they are not absolute, and courts have ruled that reasonable restrictions are permissible.

First Amendment rights include:

  • Religious freedom — The First Amendment prohibits the government from favoring one religion over another by “establishing” a state church, and forbids the government from interfering with a person’s free exercise of religion. However, even though a person’s right to believe is absolute, acting on one’s belief is subject to reasonable limitations. Therefore, the government can outlaw certain acts done in the name of religion if there is a reasonable basis for believing the actions are harmful.
  • Freedom of speech — It is unlawful for the government to prevent a person from speaking or punish a person for speaking. Various forms of expression, from verbal communication to flag burning, have been held to be protected speech. The government cannot forbid speech simply because it may be offensive. However, speech that directly incites violence is not protected.
  • Freedom of the press — In its role as the government watchdog, the press enjoys great freedom to publish facts and opinions. However, the press cannot publish classified information and can be held liable for stories that are false and malicious.
  • Freedom of assembly and petition — People are allowed to freely associate, to gather together to discuss political issues, and to petition the government for change. All this can be done in the open, in public, without fear of government interference. However, government can set reasonable limits on the time and location of public demonstrations, and there is no lawful right to riot.

Citizens attempting to exercise their First Amendment rights can meet with stern opposition from officials who oppose their point of view or fear civil unrest. If you are planning a public demonstration or a march, it is always helpful to discuss your plans with an experienced civil rights attorney. We can explain your rights and obligations and act as an intermediary with officials during the permitting process.

If you are embroiled in a dispute over an infringement of your First Amendment rights, we can help you reach a favorable resolution, which can include injunctive relief and possibly monetary damages, depending on the circumstances. Getting assistance from a civil rights attorney who knows the nuances of the law is always preferable to the frustration you encounter attempting to manage issues on your own.

Contact our civil rights law firm to protect your First Amendment rights in Montgomery, AL

McGuire & Associates is committed to upholding First Amendment rights in Montgomery. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 334-651-8891 or contact our Montgomery office online. Our office is located at 31 Clayton Street, convenient to I-85 and I-65.

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