The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects several rights, including the freedom of speech. Indeed, the text of the Amendment reads “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.” Like most Constitutional rights, the freedom of speech is not limitless and the level of Constitutional protection speech may be afforded depends, sometimes, on where the speech is made. Courts have interpreted the freedom of speech to apply to a variety of forums, including books, public streets, and, in some cases, public buildings. Today’s civil rights blog discusses the collision between a centuries old document and 21st century technology – twitter.
Public Forums vs. Non-Public Forums
Throughout the course of U.S. history, the country’s courts have been called upon to interpret the meaning of the Constitution and its Amendments. As First Amendment law has developed, it’s become understood that public spaces can fall into one of three types of forums — a public forum, a public forum by designation, and a non-public forum. The level of First Amendment rights a person has in a public space is dependent on which of these types of forum the public space is classified as.