First Amendment Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old first amendment quotes, first amendment sayings, and first amendment proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.


The First Amendment doesn't give anybody the right to be heard. People don't have to listen to you.     

Rush Limbaugh

The first amendment ensures not that speech will be fair, but that it will be free. It cannot be both.     

David Mamet

The First Amendment was designed to protect offensive speech, because nobody ever tries to ban the other kind.     

Mike Godwin

The spirit of the First Amendment has been effectively repealed for conservative speech by a censorious, accusatory mob.     

Ann Coulter

The First Amendment was designed to allow for disruption of business as usual. It is not a quiet and subdued amendment or right.     

Naomi Wolf

The First Amendment serves not only the needs of the polity but also those of the human spirit- a spirit that demands self-expression.     

Thurgood Marshall

The dominant purpose of the First Amendment was to prohibit the widespread practice of government suppression of embarrassing information.     

William O. Douglas

We have a First Amendment for good reasons. We need a free press because without an educated electorate we cannot have a functioning democracy.     

Jill Stein

The First Amendment makes confidence in the common sense of our people and in the maturity of their judgement the great postulate of our democracy.     

William O. Douglas

The First Amendment is often inconvenient. But that is beside the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech.     

Anthony Kennedy

If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his house, what books he may read or what films he may watch.     

Thurgood Marshall

The basis of the First Amendment is the hypothesis that speech can rebut speech, propaganda will answer propaganda, free debate of ideas will result in the wisest governmental policies.     

Fred M. Vinson

No one understands that the First Amendment is only important if you are going to offend somebody. If you're not going to offend somebody, you don't need protection of the First Amendment.     

Larry Flynt

The First Amendment is not an altar on which we must sacrifice our children, families, and community standards. Obscene material that is not protected by the First Amendment can and must be prohibited.     

Orrin Hatch

The First Amendment isn't about free thought and free opinion and free belief. The First Amendment is about free exercise--the carrying into practice of religious principles, and beliefs, and convictions.     

Alan Keyes

The First Amendment applies to rogues and scoundrels. You don't lose your First Amendment rights because of a sleazy personality, or even for having committed a crime. Felons in jail are protected by the First Amendment.     

Naomi Wolf

The First Amendment has created a wall of separation between the church and the State. But that wall is one directional. It is to keep the government from running the Church. But it is not to keep Christian principles out of the government.     

Thomas Jefferson

Thus if the First Amendment means anything in this field, it must allow protests even against the moral code that the standard of the day sets for the community. In other words, literature should not be suppressed merely because it offends the moral code of the censor.     

William O. Douglas

First Amendment freedoms are most in danger when the government seeks to control thought or to justify its laws for that impermissible end. The right to think is the beginning of freedom, and speech must be protected from the government because speech is the beginning of thought.     

Anthony Kennedy

To those who cite the first amendment as reason for excluding God from more and more of our institutions and everyday life, may I just say: The first amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people of this country from religious values; it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny.     

Ronald Reagan

The First Amendment is very important, but it's not everything.     

Anthony Lewis

The First Amendment rejects red tape, cover-up and double-speak.     

Roy Barnes

The notion that the First Amendment has no limitations whatsoever is balderdash.     

Trey Gowdy

The First Amendment says keep government out of religion. It doesn't say keep religion out of government.     

Rand Paul

The First Amendment freedom of religion is as important today as when the Bill of Rights was first written.     

Arlen Specter

The First Amendment has the same role in my life as a citizen and a writer as the sun has in our ecosystem.     

Michael Chabon

First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully.     

John Yoo

The very reason for the First Amendment is to make the people of this country free to think, speak, write and worship as they wish, not as the Government commands.     

Hugo Black

The First Amendment is not a blanket freedom-of-information act. The constitutional newsgathering freedom means the media can go where the public can, but enjoys no superior right of access.     

George Will

The First Amendment does not guarantee the press a constitutional right of special access to information not available to the general public, nor does it cloak the inmate with special rights of freedom of speech.     

Pete Wilson