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1st Amendment – Freedom of Speech, Press, & Assembly
Speech, Press, & Assembly are very important personal freedoms for many Americans. Your role
in this scenario will be as an outside observer attempting to uphold the law. Sometimes you will
be protecting speech, press, & assembly freedoms & sometimes you will not. Either way, find me
15 examples of these freedoms & explain if what is being done is legal or not using pages 73
(freedom of speech) – 80 (right to keep & bear arms). Briefly explain the violation & why the
action in the scenario was correct. If it was not correct, please explain why. You must use the
scenario below for this assignment. Any correct examples beyond 15 will be two bonus points
each. 30 point assignment.
The Scenario – Due by 5pm on Friday, May 8th
We knew it was going to be a tough day because of the pending weather. The national weather
service was predicting almost two feet of snow, everyone was concerned about the roads &
electricity, & there was an election we had to execute as well. To be proactive, Mayor Peter
scheduled additional plows & salt for the roads, emergency service personnel, & required all
newspapers to print all shelter locations & evacuation routes. Hopefully, this would help.
Mayor Peter has always been controversial & his weather policies were no exception. Bernard,
the leader of the “Snow on the roof, fire in the furnace” interest group, suggested in television
interviews Mayor Peter should just encourage people to stay home & let Mother Nature do her
thing. Bernard argued this was a waste of taxpayer dollars because nothing could really stop or
limit a storm of this magnitude. Because there was some truth to this, Mayor Peter required
Adam, the leader of the “Blow my Snow” interest group to receive equal tv time for his opposing
viewpoint interviews. It was the least the network could do since Mayor Peter had purchased so
much campaign ad time which was being broadcast during every commercial break of the
coverage. The “Blow my Snow” members did receive their tv time, & argued life & elections
must go on & government has a responsibility to clear the way for its citizens.
Of course, the news media also covered Mayor Peter’s alleged affair with Trix – a local
prostitute. Numerous news outlets were camped outside the Mayor’s office in City Hall
peacefully yelling questions about both the snow & Trix to anyone resembling the Mayor.
Reporters went to the courthouse because feminist groups were gathering in the snow to protest
the criticism Trix was facing as a prostitute. Two feminist activists, Kaitlyn & Nina, peacefully
chanted “More bookie, less nookie” to draw attention to the fact Trix’s lack of education almost
forced her into a career of prostitution. They chanted peacefully until they were arrested by the
Others gathered outside the jail where Trix was detained. Christina, a college protestor, led a
group in burning bras & men’s shoes initially as a symbolic protest against prostitution, but
eventually just to keep warm. This all appeared to be legal until the protestors got really cold &
Robert burned an American flag right on the jail grounds. Things literally heated up then because
the fire was bigger & police arrested everyone for this decidedly un-American display.
As you can imagine, all of these arrests received very negative media coverage & concerned the
residents living in the area. Molly, who lived right across the street from the police station, was
angered because of the police actions. She attached twenty feet of Christmas lights on her roof in
the shape of an extended middle finger & pointed this in the direction of the police. Although
Molly argued she had an absolute free speech right, she was arrested because the police argued
this was hate speech. The police also argued free speech does not apply when no words are
spoken. This only led to more people entering the downtown area. Of course, after seeing people
arrested for protesting on the jail grounds, these new protestors took to the streets.
This seemed legal until Chelsea, a McDonalds truck driver, could not reach her downtown
delivery location for her frozen meat. Maybe it was the importance of McDonalds or aggravation
with the protestors, but the police again began to arrest the people peacefully protesting in the
street in front of the jail. Needless to say, McDonalds did receive its frozen meat that afternoon.
So, the snow was falling heavier, the jails were filling, & the afternoon television shows were
debating the situation in the city. Mayor Peter was receiving heavy criticism in all news outlets.
Mayor Peter, sensitive to all the criticism, claimed the media needed to follow the Sullivan Rule.
In other words, stop criticizing the elected officials & simply focus on covering the storm & the
rescue efforts if necessary. Heidi, an investigative reporter for the local newspaper wrote a story
for the next day’s paper suggesting all these arrests were distracting the police. If the electricity
failed, according to a confidential source, it would be easy for most of the banks in town to be
robbed because of inadequate security. When Mayor Peter got word of this story, he immediately
ordered the story to not be published to protect the money, the banks, & the community generally.
Heidi published the story anyway – which infuriated the Mayor. Although no robberies were
committed, the Mayor demanded Heidi’s confidential source. When Heidi did not provide it, she
was immediately arrested the next day.
Now remember, there was still an election happening too. Many of the campaign organizers were
overjoyed. People were glued to the television news coverage, so they were seeing ads either
telling you to vote for someone or telling you to vote against someone. Keith, an enthusiastic
albeit sometimes misguided Socialist, ordered thousands of dollars of coffee & began giving it to
people protesting downtown. He thought he could spend as much as he wanted on Election Day
& to keep the protestors warm. Mayor Peter made certain this would be reported to state election
authorities. Once the protestors were warmed up with Keith’s coffee, they once again began to
protest – although it was not clear exactly what they were angry about. Marinete was smoking
hookah outside the polling place by her car when she accidentally lit her voter registration card on
fire. Soon everyone waiting outside the polls was burning their voter registration cards too, which
only made the process of voting in a blizzard more difficult to verify. Since nobody was injured
& everyone was peacefully sharing Marinete’s hookah by her car, the police did not administer
As night fell & the snow piled up, maybe the biggest bombshell exploded. David, the Mayor’s 15
year old Boy Scout son, was reported as having been arrested for soliciting Trix – just like his
father! Mayor Peter protested saying this kind of story should not be published because it is
“harmful to minors” – just like Potter Stewart said years ago. He further said television broadcasts
were reporting libel against both he & David. Despite these protests, the story continued to be
broadcast. Mercifully, this was the final conflict of the day, but we still have to count the votes &
dig out from under the snow.