The First Amendment was added to the Constitution in 1791 to protect several different rights including Freedom of Religion, Free Speech, Freedom of Press, the right to peacefully assemble and petitioning the government for redress of grievances. Simply you have the right to choose your religion, say what you think, the press has a right to publish, you have a right to protest peacefully and you have a right to petition the government about things you don’t like. The problems arose with the Federalists and Anti-Federalists arguing before ratifying the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was the compromise between the two on what the Constitution meant.
Keep in mind that originally the Amendments added to the Constitution were only for the Federal Government to abide by due to the tyrannical British government and their unjust, severe laways imposed on the colonies. In 1925, the Supreme Court ruled that the amendment covered both state and federal laws.
The First Amendment has been argued since the Constitution was ratified for various reasons. Most recently, on the internet and more predominantly cyber security and those who publish documents obtained that are classified. Some insist that if it is classified the people do not have a right to view these documents. Others argue for transparency of government is necessary to keep the government in line. Some argue that the First Amendment does not cover people who are not citizens of the United States and others will debate that the Constitution covered all. Regardless of argument, Congress today does not always follow the First Amendment in it’s decisions and the Department of Justice fails to adhere to it on a regular basis.
An example of this is the current Section 623 of the Intel Act of 2018 (Intel Act link ) which declares:
It is the sense of Congress that WikiLeaks and the senior leadership of WikiLeaks resemble a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors and should be treated as such a service by the United States.”
Wikileaks is simply a media organization that published documents that were given to them. They are no different than the New York Times (who published James Comey’s memos) or any other media who has dumped documents on the news. If Wikileaks and it’s staff are a hostile intelligence organization, then half the country’s media is as well as they have reported on these leaks. Congress is way out of line in this statement.
However, I do not believe they have a leg to stand on with the wording of this part of the legislation. The words “sense of” which I regard is like stating “feeling of” and the word “resemble” would not stand up in a court of law. However, anyone who is a free speech advocate needs to fight this section as it is the beginning of the removal of freedom of press to publish and free speech. It is an absolute violation of the First Amendment and is against the law for the Congress to do so.
The First Amendment and the Constitution distinctly were introduced and ratified to protect citizens and that of the press from oppression by new laws that are against our rights. They were not written for the federal government to remove or choose when and where thes rights can be utilized. Any time the Congress of the United States violates an amendment of the Constitution in any way, we are allowing tyranny and federal government to rule our lives. We The People are the ones who control the government, not the other way around.
Stand up for your first amendment rights and petition and write your Congress today. Here is a list of Senate Twitter Handles
and here is a link to phone numbers and addresses as well as email: