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May 01, 2015

Americans Say Freedom of Speech is the Most Important Constitutional Right, According to FindLaw.com Survey for Law Day, May 1

Right to bear arms, religious freedom, due process also highly ranked

EAGAN, Minn., May 1, 2015 – Freedom of speech is the most important constitutional right, according to a new survey from FindLaw.com, the most popular legal information website.

In honor of Law Day (May 1), FindLaw.com asked 1,000 American adults to rank the rights enumerated in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights in order of importance.

30% – Freedom of Speech

20% – Due process rights

12% – Right to keep and bear arms

11% – Free exercise of religion

10% – Voting rights

6% – Protection against cruel and unusual punishment

5% – Protection against unreasonable search and seizure

4% – Criminal trial rights

2% – Freedom of the press

Poll results vary across different groups. Older people tend to place more importance on due process rights and the right to bear arms, while younger people place more importance on freedom of speech and protection against cruel & unusual punishment.

Similarly, men place greater importance than women on the right to bear arms, while women place greater importance on free exercise of religion. 

“The U.S. Constitution confers many important rights to its citizens,” said Stephanie Rahlfs, attorney-editor with FindLaw.com.  “All of the rights therein are important, and while it’s difficult to say that some are more vital than others, it’s interesting to note that the Founding Fathers placed freedom of speech into the First Amendment as a cornerstone of the Bill of Rights. The survey results show that Americans continue to hold that right near and dear.”

Additionally, Professor Arthur Miller of New York University School of Law, and one of the preeminent legal scholars on federal criminal, civil and appellate court procedures, offered this reminder on the scope of U.S. constitutional rights:  “Americans are blessed with more rights than any other people on the planet and we are particularly fortunate that they are enshrined in our constitution.”

Free information on how constitutional rights are applied in areas such as criminal law, civil rights, business law and more can be found at “Learn About the Law” at FindLaw.com at http://public.findlaw.com/

The FindLaw.com survey was conducted using a demographically balanced survey of 1000 American adults with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percent.

Note to editors: Full survey results and analysis are available upon request.

FindLaw
FindLaw, part of Thomson Reuters, is a leading provider of business development solutions for small law firms. Through its team of legal marketing experts, FindLaw drives the industry by delivering a comprehensive portfolio of proven online and offline marketing solutions designed to connect law firms with targeted prospective clients. FindLaw is also home to the largest online directory of lawyers and FindLaw.com (www.FindLaw.com), the most popular legal website with more than eight million people visiting each month for free information about a legal topic, to solve a legal problem or to find a lawyer.

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