First Amendment Case Study

Good Essays
The first amendment, which protects amongst other things our freedom of speech, is tantamount in “preventing the majority from imposing its views on [the minority]” (481). However, in this famous case the will of the majority, the Boy Scout of America leaders, leading to the exclusion of the minority, James Dale, from based on his openness about his sexual orientation which conflicted with the beliefs of the scouts at the time. Despite the fact that he was free to speak about his orientation with newspapers and whomever he wishes in general, the ideas were seen by the Scouts as an affront on their “morally straight” requirements which is also protected under the first amendment. This raises two integral questions about the nature of our fundamental…show more content…
However, the case is centered around the “expressive associational rights”, not Dale’s ability to speak freely, of the Boy Scouts which is protected under the first amendment speech clause because the group engages in “some form of expression” (481) which is to “’instill values in young people’” which Rehnquist states is “engaging in expressive activity” (481). The value that Dale is accused of violating is the “morally straight and clean” requirement of the Scout Oath and Law due to his openness about his sexuality which the scouts believe “significantly affect[s] the Boy Scouts’ ability to advocate private viewpoints”, those being a “positive moral code” which being gay is inconsistent with despite that not being explicitly stated. So, when the two come in conflict barring all political biases (as was present on the court with Conservative stalwarts Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Sandra Day O’ Connor) in which legal scenarios does a court rule in favor of protecting the rights of the individual (Dale) and the organization (Boy Scouts of…show more content…
To understand what I mean by this I will create a hypothetical to show when the court should rule each way. In the first scenario, Dale as an assistant scoutmaster teaches his troop that homosexual activity is condoned and acceptable which directly breaks the objectives of the scout’s organization. Thus, the BSA can terminate Dale on the grounds of violating their expressive rights as protected in the first amendment. However, in the real events, where Dale did not use his position as assistant scoutmaster to advance his cause and only advocated for gay rights in his capacity as a private citizen the scouts had no basis for terminating Dale without punishing him for his actions and words which is a violation of his freedom of speech. To simplify my position into one line: The expressive rights of an organization is only protected over that of an individual when an individual actively undermines the organization (i.e., use the organization as a means to extend
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