First Amendment to the United States Constitution

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The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is a part of the United States Bill of Rights. It prohibits the federal legislature from making laws that establish religion (the "Establishment Clause") or prohibit free exercise of religion (the "Free Exercise Clause"), laws that infringe the freedom of speech, infringe the freedom of the press, limit the right to assemble peaceably, or limit the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Although the First Amendment explicitly prohibits only the named rights from being abridged by laws made by Congress, the courts have interpreted it as applying more broadly. As the first sentence in the body of the Constitution reserves all law-making ("legislative") authority to Congress, the courts have held that the First Amendment's terms also extend to the executive and judicial branches. Additionally, in the 20th century the Supreme Court has held that the Due Process clause of the 1868 Fourteenth Amendment "incorporates" the limitations of the First Amendment to restrict also the states.

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.
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