James States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971) was to decide

James Madison created a series of amendments to placate the citizenry that the liberties represented by the Constitution would remain safe and beyond government incursion. Flash forward 182 years and the courts are tasked with deciding if the First Amendment actually means what it says. At issue is whether the government can exercise prior restraint to halt the publication of current news of importance to the citizenry.  New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971) was to decide if indeed the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. That being said The District of Columbia and 49 states have some level of protections from local and state agencies. That being said the following year (1972) the court took up Brazenberg v. Hayes 408 U.S. 665 and found that journalists do not have an absolute right to refuse to reveal sources to the courts. Tempering the earlier New York Times Co. v. United States the government must show convincing and compelling relations between the information requested and the overriding interests of the government in learning source materials.{1} No statutory protection exists at the federal level. In addition no portion of the First Amendment relieves a reported of their obligation shared by all citizens to respond to grand jury subpoena or answer questions pertainent to criminal investigations. Case law is varied and seems to be largely reliant upon circumstances under which restraints and source information is requested and or demanded. Generally speaking the Justice Burger’s dissent position held that in a democracy the press has a greater responsibility on the newspaper to investigate the potential impact on national security prior to publication. This position was shared by concurring dissent penned by justices Harlan and Blackmun who also stated that the court decision was reached too hastily for a subject that obviously required greater investigation and deliberation.{2} With the court holding widely divergent positions and each instance being so dependent upon individual unique case law many states have implemented so called “Shield Laws”{3} to provide the protections that federal statute lacks. Federal law is at best cloudy when it comes to a federal shield law if for no other reason that exactly how do we clearly define what and who is a “Journalist”. With the explosion of the internet as news source of the great masses of citizenry definitions are not readily definable. Even the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has trouble defining who is a journalist, rather, seeking to define the journalist as anyone who commits “acts of journalism”. For there to be a clear national shield policy industry standards would have to be created, codes of ethics adopted, educational requirements, certification etc… would need to be in place to clearly outline for both the government and journalists who is and is not a journalist. With this “codification” both again would have a clear understanding of allowable investigation and reporting and what, if any, repercussions there may be for their respective actions. The framers of the Constitution by placing the freedom of religion in the first amendment sought to ensure that the ability of the citizenry to worship God according to their conscious not be dictated, curtailed, limited or “abridged” in any manner. In his famous letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 wherein he coins the “Wall of Separation” phrase, he sought to address the “Establishment Clause” once again in a more concrete alliteration easily understood by the most common of the citizenry. He in essence reiterated what, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…” means by equating it to a wall between properties that clearly defines ownership.  That being said the free practice of religion has an impact upon freedom of speech as some thought may be contrary to church canon. Some argue, legitimately, that strict adherence to canon could and would cause a crisis of conflict between aliegance to one’s religion and aliegance to the freedom to speak perceived or accepted truth. When John F. Kennedy was running for President this was one of the Nixon campaign points as to why the citizenry should not vote for a Catholic democrat. The thought process was that he would have divided aliegances to religion, and the leader of Roman Catholicism – The Pope, and the Constitution. The tactic backfired as the citizenry led by an enamored and favorably docile press harpooned the Nixon campaign for attacking “religious sensibilities” needlessly based on First Amendment guarantees. The Johnson Amendment to the United States Tax code of 1954 sought to limit religious, church, activities, or speech, in the political arena. This effective religious “prior restraint” curtailed the abilities of church leaders to teach and espouse the word of God as they may be led by their conscious. The method used to coerce this curtailed thought was to threaten a church’s tax exempt status, thus threatening the church’s finances as well as those of the church employees, including the pastor. A 2016 Pew Research Center study sought to determine exactly who was actually in favor of repealing this tax code amendment. It generally determined blacks and whites were in favor of such a repeal{X} even though the title of the article penned by Gregory A. Smith states “Most Americans oppose churches choosing sides in elections”. 60% of Americans say religious beliefs are important, 20% of black church members reported clergy making statements from the pulpit endorsing candidates{Y}, 7% of white church members reported clergy making statements from the pulpit endorsing candidates, 47% of church goers favorable to being “allowed” to express their political beliefs, Muslims were not even polled according to the study article. Churches in an ongoing effort to challenge this tax code amendment have engaged in so called “Pulpit Freedom Sundays” to deliberately provoke the IRS in order to provoke a court challenge. The actions of these church leaders are seeking to overturn more than 60 years of the “state” imposing “prior restraint” upon pastor’s “freedom to teach as God leads.”{Z}Generally speaking this nation was founded by persons seeking to free themselves of the constraints of religious persecution and oligarchical dictate. In doing so they set the course for both themselves and their progeny to seek and maintain freedoms. As an American we choose to adhere to the Constitution as a document that is the “touch stone” of our society. A Christian equivalent is the Ten Commandments as the “touch stone” of our faith. Both provide a basis and guide for our lives that should be relatively simple in that no matter what is going on around you, you know these “truths to be self evident{S} The Johnson Amendment in a very real way after 178 years created a new layer of religious persecution and governmental dictate with respect to religious free speech. The United States Tax code is not contingent upon an enforced church neutrality in the public forum. Quite the contrary, church activity in the public forum has led to social advances that have done nothing but advance national interests. Civil rights, Voter rights, Patient rights, Welfare, Medicare, Social Security, Desegregation and the list goes on and on. It could rightly be argued that governmental zeal to prohibit church or faith based activities has actually hurt the nation by eliminating a vital national discussion on true freedoms as opposed to “granted” freedoms. As such the Tax code should be amended to exclude the Johnson amendment of for no other reason than fairness in freedom of speech.The framers of the Constitution sought to create a workable document that would appeal to the citizenry as a whole and the various existing state governments. In doing so they prioritized what was “most important” first and succeeding items and issues were addressed accordingly. That being said the wording of the First Amendment clearly indicates what historically and, at the time, currently was foremost in their minds and intentions, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” {A} religion held and still holds first place among the guarantees of enumerated in the Bill of Rights, which generally speaking makes sense as this nation was founded by persons seeking to free themselves of the constraints of religious persecution and oligarchical dictate. In doing so they set the course for both themselves and their progeny to seek and maintain freedoms. As an American we choose to adhere to the Constitution as a document that is the “touch stone” of our society. A Christian equivalent is the Ten Commandments as the “touch stone” of our faith. Both provide a basis and guide for our lives that should be relatively simple in that no matter what is going on around you, you know these “truths to be self-evident{S}. In his letter to the Danbury Baptist Association (1802) wherein he coins the “Wall of Separation” phrase, he sought to address the “Establishment Clause” once again in a more concrete alliteration easily understood by the most common of the citizenry. He in essence reiterated what, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…” means by equating it to a wall between properties that clearly defines ownership. By eliminating this “wall” government runs a risk of losing its cohesion and dissolving into religious canon. By eliminating the “wall” religion runs the risk of dissolving religious canon on favor of public opinion and legislated worship. Both “sides” run a risk of losing “authority” however, government has nothing to lose based on Christian canon. Matthew 22 demonstrates the path which Christianlty directs its followers; “16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial taxa to Caesar or not?”18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”{B} There is no such guidance in the founding documents that would make government subservient to religion. That being said, religion runs a greater risk of losing “control” of itself than government. Government has historically proven that it is quick to claim powers and reluctant to relinquish any gained. Witness the Johnson Amendment to the U.S. Tax code of 1954. Instituted to leash church activities outside the church walls under threat to revoke tax exempt status. Additionally the restraints exercised by government over religion constitute a prior restraint of free speech. Restraint to the extent that by its existence it dictates what is spoken from the pulpit. By definition a lobbyist is an individual that by direct contact with government officials, Congressmen, Senators, Executives, Bureauracies, Agencies and Departments seeks to persuade those officials to support policies of interest to their group. An interest group is a group of like minded individuals that share common goals to influence government actions and policies in favor of their group goals. Special interest groups employ lobbyists.{%} Political Action Committies (PAC) are formed to collect virtually unlimited funds and provide financial resources to lobbyists and political support in furthering the interests of the special interest group. In many ways a Political Action Committee is set up much the same as a hedge fund, however, the fund is prohibited from coordinating its activities with any specific political campaign. PAC’s existence were challenged to two cases brought to the court in 2010, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and Speechnow v. Federal Election CommissionThe Voting Right Act of 1965 determined that in various areas of the nation racial discrimination existed and created a test a device and a formula to determine what, if any, remedies were appropriate to address and correct the discrimination. These remedies and tests range from suspension of literacy tests, review of districting, federal election examiners and observers to the election process. The Court in 2013 suspended the operation of part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, in a 5-4 ruling that confirmed that “things have changed dramatically” in the south. Justice Roberts writing for the majority stated the court did not strike down the act of Congress “lightly,” and said it “took care to avoid ruling on the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act” in a separate case back in 2009{L}. “Congress could have updated the coverage formula at that time, but did not do so. Its failure to act leaves us today with no choice but to declare Section 4 unconstitutional. The formula in that section can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance.”However, this section will become active again if Congress updates the system for determining which governments fall into this category and conditions exist that warrant its reimposition. The case cited is Matal v. Tam, wherein the court held that “speech that some may find offensive is protected against both outright prohibition and lesser restrictions as represented by statutory restrictions and code violation. To do so is “an egregious form of content discrimination which is unconstitutional”.{H} Simon Tam leader of the “Slants”, an Asian-American band, that chose their name to, as they stated, “reclaim” Asian stereotypes and drain it of its denigrating force. The court in its decision shoes to reject the “classic safe-space”{G} reasoning to celebrate the proudest boast of free speech jurisprudence that we protect the freedom to express the thought we hate the most. “…Speech burden based on audience reaction is simply governmental hostility and intervention masquerading as protectionism”. The actions of the various athletes are indeed considered as “speech” as defined by court precedence. Constitutional law professor Greg Magarian from Washington University, St. Louis stated, “Free speech, however, isn’t just a legal guarantee — it’s a social value. We don’t really care if our speech, or the speech of someone we want to listen to, is suppressed by the government as opposed to private action. What we care about is getting to speak and listen.”{Y} Common expectations are that people are allowed that chance. Player protests regarding the National Anthem remind us First Amendment guarantees only apply to government limitation actions. Private company employees don’t have constitutional rights against their employers. An employee’s freedom of speech is derived from several different sources. There is of course constitutional free speech, which is derived from the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Separate from constitutional free speech is the notion of contractual free speech derived from an employing agreement or a unionized employee’s collective bargaining agreement.There are no court cases concerning professional sports athletes protesting the flag or anthem. There are however, several cases involving closely held religious convictions as cause for punitive actions against individuals for not saluting the national flag. In Minersville Sch. Dist. v. Board of Educ., 310 U.S. 586 (1940), West Virginia State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943), Minersville School Dist. v. Gobbits, 108 F2d 683 (1940) the court upheld the right of the school district to engage in activities to support and promote “Americanism” but not by “compulsion.” The appellants in these most notable of cases were all Jehovah’s Wittness who decline due to religious beliefs to give oaths, affirmations or confirmations of belief to anything considered to be an idol or graven image. (Exodus 20;4-5 –” thou shall not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shall not bow down thyself to them nor serve them.”) As cited by the appellants the flag and the pledge was considered an image which they were being ordered by “earthly” powers to bow down to in deference. 
The cases as heard by the court were based on violation of First Amendment freedom of religion and fourteenth Amendment denial of due process. As such they have similarities regarding which amendment is involved however the grounds upon which the appeal was based is dissimilar.