List of United States Supreme Court cases involving the First Amendment

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This is a list of cases that appeared before the Supreme Court of the United States involving the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The establishment of religion[edit]

Blue laws[edit]

Government aid to church-related schools[edit]

Government-sponsored religious displays[edit]

Legislative prayer[edit]

Internal religious affairs (also involving the Free Exercise Clause)[edit]

Ministerial exception[edit]

Private religious speech[edit]

Religion in public schools[edit]

Religious institution functioning as a government agency[edit]

Standing to sue[edit]

Statutory religious exemptions[edit]

Unequal government treatment of different religious groups[edit]

Abortion and contraception[edit]


The free exercise of religion[edit]

Exclusion of religion from public benefits[edit]


Free exercise and eminent domain[edit]

Free exercise and free speech[edit]

Free exercise and public education[edit]

Free exercise and public property[edit]

Internal religious affairs (also involving the Establishment Clause)[edit]

Ministerial exception[edit]

Religion and the right to work[edit]

Religious tests for public service or benefits[edit]

Ritual sacrifice of animals[edit]

Solicitation by religious groups[edit]

Statutory religious exemptions[edit]

Religious Freedom Restoration Act[edit]

Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act[edit]


Freedom of speech[edit]

Campaign finance[edit]

Commercial speech[edit]

Compelled speech[edit]

Compelled commercial speech[edit]

Compelled subsidy for speech of others[edit]

Cases that consider the First Amendment implications of payments mandated by the state going to use in part for speech by third parties

Loyalty oaths and affirmations[edit]



Sedition and imminent danger[edit]

False speech[edit]

Fighting words and the heckler's veto[edit]

Freedom of assembly and public forums[edit]

Time, place and manner[edit]

Cases concerning restrictions on the time, place, and manner of speech

Government speech[edit]

Cases pertaining to whether or not extending protections to speech constitutes government endorsement of speech.

Government-subsidized speech[edit]

Cases about restrictions on speech by third parties funded by the government.



Cases concerned with the definition of obscenity and whether a particular work or type of material is obscene.

As criminal offense[edit]

Appeals of criminal convictions for possessing, selling or distributing obscenity that focused on that issue

Search, seizure and forfeiture[edit]

Cases involving the search and seizure of allegedly obscene material

Civil and administrative regulation[edit]

Cases dealing with civil and administrative regulatory procedures aimed at suppressing or restricting obscenity, such as film-licensing boards or zoning regulations.


Cases involving laws meant to restrict obscenity online

Public employees[edit]

Political activity and Hatch Act of 1939[edit]

Public school students[edit]

Speech by students in public secondary schools

Retaliation by public officials[edit]

Cases in which it has been alleged governmental officials retaliated for protected speech made by private citizens who are not employed by said officials.

Symbolic speech[edit]

Freedom of the press[edit]

Broadcast media[edit]


Prior restraints and censorship[edit]


Search and seizure[edit]

Taxation and privileges[edit]

Freedom of assembly[edit]

Freedom of association[edit]

Freedom to petition[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. Kermit L. Hall, ed.
  • The Oxford Guide to United States Supreme Court Decisions. Kermit L. Hall, ed.
  • Alley, Robert S. (1999). The Constitution & Religion: Leading Supreme Court Cases on Church and State. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-703-1.