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The Application of the First Amendment Essay


The clause protects the U.S citizens on the right to worship (religion), and to petition the government among other inherent rights. In essence, the First Amendment is one of the most significant acts aimed at protecting democratic processes in the U.S. In essence, in the development of the Act, the Congress argued that religion and other related beliefs were a personal matter between man and God. Any man was not required to explain to anybody the reason behind practicing a particular faith (ACLU 1). Thus, the government had no right or legitimate power to act in ways that could limit the right to worship. Indeed, religion is a way of exercising free speech, and the Congress cannot be used to make laws targeting the establishment of religious outfits.

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The First Amendment has established a formidable wall separating the church and the state. Entities should adhere to this supreme expression of people’s will and respect the right of conscience. The Supreme Court strengthened and secured the application and possible manipulation of the First Amendment in the case of Reynolds v. United States in 1878. In this case, the Supreme Court affirmed that the First Amendment was an authoritative declaration on the protection of democracy and innate rights of the citizens. Subsequently, Congress and other legislative authorities were deprived of legislative powers to limit religious opinions and innate freedom to expression (ACLU 1). However, the court gave the Congress the power to limit such freedoms that were violating certain social duties or subverting the good public order. In this court, the Supreme Court defines religious freedom as a fundamental right, and that no civil law could intrude or restrain the propagation of such principles. Destroying religious liberty is only possible if there are beyond reasonable doubts that such institutions operate against peace and good order in different social systems.

In his 2015 presidential campaigns, Donald Trump made numerous proposals to shut down mosques operated in the United States. From a Constitutional perspective, Trump’s arguments and policies would violate the provisions of the First Amendment. As the lawyer involved in this case, I would represent the congregation of the Muslim mosque (plaintiffs) and challenge the government’s decision to limit the operation of the religious entities (ACLU 1). The Amendment encouraged “the establishment of religion” and affirmed that the Federal government did not have the power to pass laws aimed at aiding a religion or preferring one religion to the other. The clause encouraged that the perceived wall between the church and the state should be kept as high as possible and makes it impregnable.

In my arguments, I will cite the case study Reynolds v. United States. In this case, the Supreme Court established that no laws should interfere with the religious beliefs and expression of related opinions. Nevertheless, laws can regulate practices such as human sacrifices associated with some religious groups. In such cases, the court should rely on compelling reasons explaining their decisions interfere with the operations of a religious outfit. For instance, the Supreme Court ruled in a case involving a Florida-based church that using animal sacrifices violated public order. Nevertheless, the court did limit overall operations of the Santeria religion but singled out a particular practice. President Trump should single out specific practices of the Islamic religion that violates the constitution. Singling out an entire Muslim society with his criticism and executive actions are unreasonable and attract numerous questions on constitutional provisions and application or relevant precedents and laws.

Therefore, the Trump Administration must provide reasonable arguments to warrant the proposed shutdown of mosques in the country. As the plaintiffs’ attorney, I will further cite the case of Sherbert v. Verner. In this case, the Supreme Court held that the government must provide arguments that are beyond reasonable doubts explaining the decision to limit the operation of churches. In specific, according to the stipulations under this case, Trump’s Administration must prove the existence of “compelling interests” regarding refusal to accommodate a religious outfit or any other organization. Some of these compelling reasons include evidence that religious organizations are forcing their tenets or beliefs on other members of the public (ACLU 1). Similarly, the state must provide evidence that religion is influencing public order, law, and peace. In essence, the Muslim congregation has the right to assemble and associate as provided under the First Amendment. The Federal government should not interfere in the operation of churches and entities unless there is a clear identification of “compelling interests.”

Consequently, President Trump’s directives amount to unlawful or unfair targeting of religious groups and violate constitutional provisions stipulated under the First Amendment Act. Any executive order or action challenging or targeting religions is a critical or fundamental constitutional issue. In this context, President Trump will intentionally target religious groups (Muslims) based on his subjective views and related opinions on religious affiliation. In essence, Trump’s directives violate the Free Exercise Clause and Establishment Clause and seek to discriminate against Muslim congregations in the United States. Therefore, the court should find the President as irrelevant and consider his subjective thoughts as violations to the constitution.

In essence, I believe that the government will have difficulties proving improper conducts among the Muslim congregations in the United States. Trump’s actions violate the Establishment Clause in issuing unilateral decision or orders minimizing or eradicating a particular religious group. Under the Establishment Clause, citizens are protected against such executive actions by the State or Federal governments (Bray et al. 10). Undeniably, Trump’s sentiments disfavor the plaintiffs (Muslim congregations). Therefore, the court should preclude the government from taking such actions that will make my clients (Muslim congregations) feel like they are outsiders in the United States. Thus, I believe that any such actions are unconstitutional because it will discriminate against Muslims based on their religious affiliations. By intentionally targeting the religion, the anti-Muslim intentions by the President are overwhelming evidence that the directive is unconstitutional (ACLU 1). In essence, Trump’s plans to ban the admission of all Muslims, create a national database to monitor the movement of Muslims in the country, and shutdown Mosques will elicit public emotions and adverse reactions. The court must stop such subversion of justice that threatens public order and peace in the American societies.

Lastly, without evidence of “compelling interests” from the Trump Administration, the court must declare the directives unconstitutional. No religion or group should feel victimized in the development and application of government policies. Such selective application of policies will eventually result in serious backlashes in the country. Demonstration of intent and evidence of anti-Muslim is a violation of constitutional rights. Both the Congress and the Executive cannot impose their own interpretations of constitutional clause or provision. The U.S Constitution limits the power and influence of the President when certain directives directly subvert the constitutional rights of the U.S citizens. Notably, in this case, the U.S Constitution must set a precedent on the application of justice and rule of law.

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Works Cited
ACLU. Why Trump’s Proposed Targeting of Muslims Would Be Unconstitutional. 2016. Retrieved from https://www.aclu.org/blog/religious-liberty/free-exercise-religion/why-trumps-proposed-targeting-muslims-would-be
Bray, Samuel L., et al. The Constitution of the United States. Foundation Press, 2016.

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