According to Findlaw: Originally the Court took a ''two-tier'' approach to content- oriented regulation of expression. Under the ''definitional balancing'' of this approach, some forms of expression are protected by the First Amendment and certain categories of expression are not entitled to protection. This doctrine traces to Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 69 in which the Court opined that ''certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech . . . are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth'' that government may prevent those utterances and punish those uttering them without raising any constitutional problems. If speech fell within the Chaplinsky categories, it was unprotected, regardless of its effect; if it did not, it was covered by the First Amendment and it was protected unless the restraint was justified by some test relating to harm, such as clear and present danger or a balancing of presumptively protected expression against a governmental interest which must be compelling.
The actual text is as follows: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
There are countless documents and opinions that consider the various aspects of that one single sentence. It's incredible to read some of the information out there.
Where is the Boston Barrister when you need him?