The Constitution of the United States is held up as the highest law of the land. The first 10 amendments are known as the Bill of Rights. The first of these amendments concerns the freedom of speech and religion. It reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The spirit of this right to express one’s political views without government’s intrusion, is a unique American development in world history. It is a remarkable and exceptional quality of America that the government will provide armed protection for you while you hold a rally talking about how bad the government is. That is truly amazing.
This restraint on the federal government’s intrusion is extended to restrain both state and local government actors. If you think that a local government actor is unlawfully preventing you from exercising your First Amendment rights, one mechanism to push back against them is a Section 1983 lawsuit. If the Plaintiff prevails, that is, if you as the aggrieved party convince the court (the fact finder) that a local government actor unlawfully infringed on your First Amendment rights, you can recover damages and have them ordered to cease and desists.
About the Author, Samuel J. McLure, Esq.
Sam graduated from Huntington College in 2006 with a degree in Business Administration. Before transferring to Huntington College, he attended Bethune-Cookman University as the first minority-white running back in the historically black conference.
He went on to Jones School of Law and graduated with honors, cum laude. During law school, Sam had the distinguished honor of serving with the Faulkner Law Review, clerking with Alabama Supreme Court Justice Patricia Smith, clerking with the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, and studying International Law with Cornell University in Paris, France.
However, Sam’s most memorable law school achievement was adopting his first child from the Hungarian foster-care system. It was through that process that he and his wife saw the great need to protect children in the foster care system and to encourage adoption.
Sam’s law practice has maintained an orbit around protecting vulnerable and at-risk children. He and his wife have four children and have been actively engaged in the foster care system. Sam is the author of The End of Orphan Care, and book devoted to unpacking the orthodoxy and orthopraxy of orphan care; and has founded or served with ministries and community outreach initiatives such as Kiwanis, Personhood Alabama, Proposal 16, and Sav-a-Life.