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Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Progressives Move to Amend First Amendment
By Heritage Foundation @ 12:47 PM :: 5674 Views :: National News, Ethics

Do You Know What the Constitution Really Means?

With a handful of words, the Founders set forth a simple principle that protects a central liberty enjoyed by all in this Republic -- the freedom of speech, as recognized in the First Amendment. Yet after more than 200 years of history, liberals in Congress -- including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) -- aim to set that freedom on its head so they can further their efforts to silence their political opponents.

The proposal, which is known as the "People's Rights Amendment," would amend the Constitution and hold that constitutional rights are only for "natural persons," meaning that corporations and legal entities would no longer enjoy the freedoms the Constitution guarantees. That would apply not just to companies like General Electric, but also to newspapers, churches, nonprofits, businesses, labor unions and book publishers alike. Individuals acting collectively -- whatever their purpose -- would wave the freedom of speech goodbye.

The Constitution should not be cast aside so quickly to achieve political ends, and its meaning must be carefully understood and respected. That's why The Heritage Foundation is proud to announce a new resource to help the American people and their elected representatives learn more about the history of our founding document. Heritage's Online Guide to the Constitution is a comprehensive and authoritative analysis of every single clause in the Constitution -- and it's available for free at

Want to learn more about the freedom of speech that is now under assault? Though you're probably familiar with the phrase, "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press," what does it really mean? Who does the freedom of speech and press apply to, who can restrict speech, and what constitutes "speech," anyway? Can you burn a flag? Is "hate speech" illegal? Is it permissible to lie or incite others to violence? has the answers. It offers an in-depth analysis of the First Amendment, traces its roots to the First Continental Congress in 1774, and tracks its evolution through history.

But doesn't just stop with the First Amendment. You can learn about everything from impeachment to declarations of war, the oath of office to the Electoral College, the powers of Congress, the President and the Supreme Court, and everything else in between. Here are some other features in this great new resource:

It's comprehensive. Heritage brought together 100 of the nation's best legal experts to create the only clause-by-clause examination of the Constitution and how it's been interpreted over the years.

It's searchable. You won't need Google to search the Constitution anymore. Search the entire document and hundreds of essays by the nation's leading legal experts on the historical context, meaning, and judicial interpretation of each clause. Untangle years of contradictory case law and find the original meaning of the First Amendment and how it protects freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

It's user-friendly. was designed with your mobile device in mind. Whether you're using Android, iPhone, a tablet, or iPad, works beautifully on them all. We've made it simple to post on Facebook or tweet your favorite clause, as well.

It's teachable. You don't need to go to law school to learn the Constitution. Teach yourself the Constitution with the teaching companion to the guide. Appropriate for classroom settings, reading groups, or individual self-study, the teaching companion covers every clause in the Constitution, summarizes each essay in the guide, and includes exercises and quizzes to facilitate understanding of the Constitution's main concepts.

It's for everyone. gives students a real education on the Constitution and provides teachers with a tremendous resource for their classes. It's also for Congressmen and their staff seeking ways to flex their constitutional muscles against the Professor-in-Chief (who may want to take a glimpse to learn what the Constitution actually means). is for anyone who hungers for a deeper understanding of our First Principles and how they influence today's debates.

Back in 2009, then-House Speaker Pelosi was asked about the constitutionality of Obamacare and she replied, "Are you serious?" For some, it seems, the meaning of the Constitution is irrelevant when it clashes with their political goals. But the Constitution has something to say about it if we take the time to read it, study it, and understand its meaning. And that's what is all about.





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