The five freedoms of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution received a C+ grade from a panel of reviewers brought together by the Newseum Institute. The report card is an effort to assign a grade four times each year to each of the freedoms protected by the First Amendment. Panelists were asked to assign an individual grade to each of the freedoms of speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition. (Disclosure: I participated as a grader.)
It’s important to remember that we were asked to grade the status of each of the freedoms based on our subjective sense of the current health of the freedom, taking into account influences such as real or threatened public actions, litigation working its way through the courts, legislative proposals, polling, and more. Over time, future grades should be an important barometer of the health of the First Amendment. Or it should start a good conversation.