The First Freedom

by Andrew P. Napolitano

“But even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten.” – Supreme Court of the United States, November 25, 2020

When teaching law students about the Bill of Rights, professors often ask on the first day of class which is the first freedom protected by the First Amendment. The students invariably answer, “freedom of speech.” It is not. If the framers were trying to tell us which freedom is the first among equals, they did so by listing the religion clauses ahead of the freedom of speech.

The religion clauses prohibit the government from respecting the establishment of religion and from interfering with its free exercise.

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