First Five

The First Amendment protects five core freedoms that are under attack every day — from the left, the right, and everywhere in between. First Five strives to foster interest in First Amendment news and provide a platform for discussion among enthusiasts and activists.


First Five provides your weekly dose of First Amendment news. This quick read summarizes major news, law, scholarship, technology and other commentary as it relates to First Amendment topics.

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News & Commentary

Enjoy regular commentary on First Amendment issues from Gene Policinski and Lata Nott and periodic contributions by other experts at the Institute.

What words make up a ‘true threat?’ Well, that depends


The First Amendment’s protection for free speech covers most of what we may say, whether it’s impolite, insulting, biased or uplifting, even commentary or forcefully expressed opinions that most of us would find repulsive or repugnant.
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‘Be nice’ is not needed during crisis — but a free press is


The concept of a free press as provided for and protected by the nation’s founders was that of a robust set of independent critics, working to hold government accountable on behalf of a public and of particular value to voters.
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COVID-19: Getting good information as virus crisis unfolds


In times of crisis, from natural disasters to 9/11 and more, a free press has consistently delivered the goods, saving lives and asking the necessary and often inevitable challenging questions of the public officials on whom we depend for safety and security.
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The First Amendment protects activities adjacent to voting, but stops short of voting itself


The right to express your political opinion is incredibly valuable and deserving of the utmost protection. But it’s strange that the same protection doesn’t extend to your ability to actually enact political change.
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Google v. Oracle: Tech battle ultimately about free speech

First Five 2.20 Feature v2

Current Supreme Court case between Google and Oracle could limit our ability to communicate with each other, dampening the web’s potential for increasing public engagement in debate and decision on matters that affect us all.
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Lifting Every Voice in Religious Freedom

First Five RFC social lifting voice

It is important to explore religious freedom through the lens of African American perspectives because we must lift every voice that has been impacted by religious discrimination and bigotry.
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First Five Newsletter: February 6, 2020

First Five

False information about Iowa’s voter rolls, fight to weaken internet platform shields, “First Amendment cynicism” and more.
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Focus on when the First Amendment protects – and doesn’t

First Five

Online platforms and social media sites are free to set their own practices and rules on what we do see or post, but a proposed Arizona House bill ” related to access to online content” could change that.
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First Five Newsletter: January 30, 2020

First Five

Impact of media reports on the death of Kobe Bryant, misinformation on coronavirus, new law on punishing “pirate” radio stations and more.
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‘Getting It Right’ — on Kobe Bryant and Everything Else

Kobe Bryant Mourning

“Getting it right” is one reliable defense for a free press in today’s media world against critics who often base objections and critiques more on political differences than factual error.
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