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)

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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

Rutherford Institute Sues California Police for Threatening Man Who Was Peacefully Displaying a 'John 3:16' Religious Sign in Front of S.F. Giants Ballpark

Free Speech Defeat: Insisting Government Is Exempt From First Amendment Scrutiny, Federal Court Cancels Redskins' Trademark as Offensive

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Confederate Flag License Plates, Declares Specialty Plates ‘Government Speech’ Not Protected Under the 1st Amendment

Victory: Illinois College Agrees to Cease Censorship, Will Allow Social Activists to Pass out 'Politically Incorrect' Flyers on Campus

VICTORY: U.S. Supreme Court Affirms Protections for Free Speech on Social Media and the Internet, Even If That Speech Is Threatening or Provocative

Warning Against a Government Campaign to Clamp Down on 1st Amendment Activity in Social Media, Rutherford Institute Defends Marine’s Rights

Rutherford Institute Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Reject Politically Correct Censorship, Protect Right of Students to Wear American Flag T-Shirts to School

Rutherford Institute Defends 8th Grader Body Slammed & Arrested by Police for Wearing Rosary Beads to School Football Game in Memory of Dead Brother

Commentary on Free Speech Issues

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

Criminalizing Free Speech: Is This What Democracy Looks Like?

Has the First Amendment Become an Exercise in Futility?

Bill of Rights Day: Are Our Freedoms in Jeopardy?

Speak Out: America Is a Free Speech Forum

Ten Years After 9/11: Have We Become the Enemy of Freedom?