List of United States Supreme Court cases involving the First Amendment

List of United States Supreme Court cases involving the First Amendment

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

Standing to sue

Tax exemption to religious institutions

Legislative chaplains

Government-sponsored religious displays

Religion in public education

Prayer in public schools

Teaching of creationism in public schools

Governmental aid to church-related schools

Blue laws

Religious institution functioning as a government agency

Unequal government treatment of religious groups

The free exercise of religion


Religion and the right to work

Religious tests for public service or benefits

Free exercise and free speech

Free exercise and public education

Free Exercise and public property

Solicitation by religious groups

Free exercise and eminent domain

Ritual sacrifice of animals

Government intervention in church controversies

Free speech

Sedition and imminent danger

False speech

Fighting words and the heckler's veto

Freedom of assembly and public forums

Time, place and manner

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

Symbolic speech

Compelled speech

Loyalty oaths and affirmations

School speech

Speech by students in public secondary schools (for cases involving teachers' free-speech rights, see Public employees, below).



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

As criminal offense

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

Search, seizure and forfeiture

Cases involving the search and seizure of allegedly obscene material

Civil and administrative regulation

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

Government-funded speech

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

Speech by public employees

Political activity and Hatch Act

Commercial speech

Freedom of the press

Prior restraints and censorship


Taxation and privileges


Broadcast media

Freedom of association

Further reading

  • 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 .