First Amendment

Check out 9 historic SCOTUS rulings that set the stage for future First Amendment cases (gallery)

  • Print.

FirstAmendment Gavel

Photo by zimmytws/

This year marks the anniversary of numerous influential U.S. Supreme Court decisions. On March 3, it was 100 years since the court established the “clear and present danger” test for protected speech. In February, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District. Thirty years ago in June 1989, the court ruled that burning a flag is protected expressive conduct.

It only makes sense that the 2019 Law Day theme is “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society.”

In honor of the occasion, we created a gallery featuring nine monumental Supreme Court cases on free speech and free press, all from years ending in the number nine—and another focusing on 12 free speech and free press milestones from the Supreme Court, moments in legal history that defined our understanding of these rights.

As you celebrate the rule of law May 1, ponder this, as well: What could 2019 bring for free speech and free press?

Learn more about how the Supreme Court has ruled on the First Amendment over time in the gallery below. And keep an eye out for the second gallery later this month.

If you want to read more about the First Amendment, check out these ABA Journal stories, as well as our April cover feature and this sidebar about Law Day 2019.

9 First Amendment Cases That Changed American Law

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.