7

I am a minor and my family continue to tell me "Since you can't vote and a minor, you can't express your political beliefs."

I stand more with the Republican Party but I don't agree with everything that they do or say. That doesn't mean that I don't agree with some of the Democratic beliefs. I did buy some stuff that expresses my beliefs on politics. My parents then told me that I am an extremist for buying that stuff. I bought a hat that supports the 2nd Amendment but it doesn't say anything that could be used to offend others.

Am I allowed to express my political beliefs even though I am a minor?

0
34

The First Amendment generally prohibits the government from taking any actions to limit your speech, the same as adults. There are certain exceptions, particularly if you are enrolled in a public school, which has some latitude to impose speech restrictions to “avoid substantial interference with school discipline or the rights of others” Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School Dist., 393 U.S. 503, (1969).

While you are a minor, though, your parents have virtually unlimited freedom to limit your freedom of speech. If they want to punish you for buying a hat or saying things they disagree with, they can generally do that.

EDIT: The hat you've linked to probably would not fall within the Tinker exception. A similar case arose in Schoenecker v. Koopman, 349 F. Supp. 3d 745 (E.D. Wis. 2018), where a student was removed from class for wearing similar apparel supporting Second Amendment rights. The school made a vague allegation that his shirts were disruptive, but the court found that its concerns about disruptions were largely unreasonable and unsubstantiated. See also N.J. ex rel. Jacob v. Sonnabend, No. 20-C-227, (E.D. Wis. Nov. 6, 2020).

0
0

You are breaking no laws by exercising your right of free speech, but your parents can order you not to. It's like you have the right to ride a bicycle, but your parents can tell you not to do it. A police officer won't bother you; they won't say "you are only 17 / 16 / 15 / 9 years old, you are not allowed to express your political opinion".

So this is between you and your parents.

Now with this particular hat, wearing that hat would put you very, very, very low in my estimation. The reason why your parents have the right to restrict your freedoms is that they are supposed to be older and wiser and required to keep you out of trouble, and that's what they are doing. (And there's the irony that you want to buy this hat when it is clearly marked as "made in China").

1
  • It has nothing to do with my hat that I bought
    – CDA
    May 25 at 13:21
-8

Your first amendment rights are not granted at the age of majority, they are yours as soon as you are born. It's as simple as that.

Now the "sharing" part may be a little harder, assuming you are doing so online you need to abide by any age restriction in the forum of your choice (provided that forum is private property), but you still have the right to have and express your political views (peacefully).

1
  • 21
    Parents limiting a child's expression has nothing at all to do with the First Amendment. The First Amendment deals with the government's ability to limit speech. Unless the government is the one limiting speech, the First Amendment simply does not apply. Parents have no constitutional obligation to allow a child to express their political views, and neither does any private online platform, for that matter. May 17 at 18:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.