Free Speech



The very reason for the First Amendment is to make the people of this country free to think, speak, write and worship as they wish, not as the Government commands." -- Justice Hugo L. Black
 


Free Speech Resources

Free Speech (PDF)

Students' Free Speech Rights in Public Schools (PDF)

See More Resources


Defending this fundamental right of free expression is a central theme of The Rutherford Institute’s work because we believe that all other liberties spring forth from this right.

The First Amendment guarantees all Americans the opportunity to freely express themselves. This fundamental freedom includes the right to distribute literature and discuss a multitude of views—even views distasteful to most people. It also protects the right of the people to engage in lawful picketing and the right to peaceably assemble. It is critical that a free society value and honor a free marketplace of ideas, a diversity of opinion, and free expression. Without free expression, no democratic society would be possible.

It is for these reasons that The Rutherford Institute is dedicated to preserving these fundamental rights for all Americans. The Institute responds to hundreds of complaints of free speech violations each year. From environmental activists peaceably protesting on public property to preachers relaying their message in a public forum, The Rutherford Institute believes that all people, regardless of their personal beliefs, are entitled to speak freely.


Our Recent Work in Free Speech


The Rutherford Institute's Brief in Karns v. Shanahan and Parker v. Shanahan

Rutherford Institute Appeals First Amendment Case of Street Preachers Discriminated Against and Arrested for Preaching at Princeton Train Station

Rutherford Institute Defends First Amendment Rights of Federal Employee Prohibited From Displaying Pro-Trump Political Sign on His Personal Vehicle

First Amendment Victory: Prosecutors Dismiss Charge Against Pro-Life Protester Cited for Violating Ordinance Banning "Loud or Unusual" Sounds

Government Dismisses Conspiracy Charge Against Radio Shock Jock Pete Santilli, Arrested for First Amendment Activities Relating to Oregon Standoff

Rutherford Institute Comes to the Defense of a Pro-Life Protester Cited for Violating Overly Vague Noise Ordinance Banning Sounds that Annoy or Disturb

VICTORY: Court Awards $50,000 to Rutherford Institute Attorneys for Their Defense of 'Busker' Street Musician's Right to Perform at DC Metro Stations

In a Devastating Blow to First Amendment, U.S. Supreme Court Upholds ‘Repugnant’ 60-Year-Old Ban on Expressive Activity on Supreme Court Plaza


Commentary on Free Speech Issues


Shame on the U.S. Supreme Court for Making a Mockery of the First Amendment

Dangerous Speech: Would the Founders Be Considered Domestic Extremists Today?

The Right to Tell the Government to Go to Hell: Free Speech in an Age of Government Bullies, Corporate Censors and Compliant Citizens

Fear of the Walking Dead: The American Police State Takes Aim

Sheep Led to the Slaughter: The Muzzling of Free Speech in America

The Emergence of Orwellian Newspeak and the Death of Free Speech

Free Speech, Facebook and the NSA: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

An Unbearable and Choking Hell: The Loss of Our Freedoms in the Wake of 9/11

Free Speech, RIP: A Relic of the American Past

Voter ID Laws: Silencing the American People