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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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. 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.

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 Sounds Warning Against Free Speech Double Standard in U.S. Supreme Court Rulings that Favor Rights for Wealthy Over Working Class

>>Rutherford Institute Asks Appeals Court to Reject Lower Court Dismissal & Reinstate Lawsuit Over Marine’s Arrest, Detention Due to Facebook Posts

>>Rutherford Institute Asks Ninth Circuit to Reconsider Its Ruling Declaring It Unsafe for California Students to Wear American Flag T-Shirts to School

>>Rejecting Concerns Over Gov’t Suppression of Dissident Speech as ‘Far-Fetched’, Fed. Court Dismisses Suit Over Marine’s Arrest, Detention Due to Facebook Posts

Commentary on Free Speech Issues

>>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?