It is probably no accident that freedom of speech is the first freedom mentioned in the First Amendment:
"Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
The Constitution's framers believed that freedom of inquiry and free expression were the hallmarks of a democratic society. But historically, at times of national stress — real or imagined — First Amendment rights come under enormous pressure. During the Red Scare of the early 1920s, thousands were deported for their political views.
During the McCarthy period, the infamous blacklist ruined lives and careers. Today, the creators, producers and distributors of popular culture are being blamed for the nation's deep social problems. Calls for censorship threaten to erode free speech.
The First Amendment exists precisely to protect the most offensive and controversial speech from government suppression. The best way to counter obnoxious speech is with more speech. Persuasion, not coercion, is the solution.
April 9, 2014
ACLU-NJ Goes to NJ Supreme Court to Defend Rap Lyrics as Free Speech
March 28, 2014
ACLU-NJ Stands Up for Student’s Free Speech Rights
March 19, 2014
ACLU-NJ Raises Concerns about Free Speech Rights at Christie Town Hall
December 17, 2013
ACLU-NJ and Montclair Board of Education Reach Settlement over Subpoenas
December 4, 2013
ACLU-NJ Wins Order to Temporarily Quash Subpoenas Issued by Montclair Board of Education
November 19, 2012
Newark Police Settles Lawsuit Over the Arrest of Teen with Cellphone Video
January 24, 2012
Gov. Christie Earns Mixed Marks on Civil Liberties During His First Two Years
November 7, 2011
ACLU-NJ Wins Temporary Restraining Order in Favor of Occupy Trenton Protesters
October 27, 2011
ACLU-NJ goes to court to defend Occupy Trenton's free speech
October 18, 2011
ACLU-NJ’s Statement on Union Township School Teacher’s Facebook Post
- State v. Skinner
Rap lyrics are a form of artistic expression that are protected under the First Amendment and the New Jersey Constitution and trial court judges should adopt guidelines to guide courts when considering whether or not to admit fictional, artistic expression as evidence.
- In Re: The Honorable Leon Kendall
Judge held in criminal contempt for statements made in written opinion.
- Ramos v. Flowers
Filmmaker arrested for filming a documentary on gang activity.
- ACLU-NJ v. Wyckoff Township
Town tries to limit the amount of time a person can keep a political lawn sign on their property.
- Occupy Trenton v. Zawacki
State infringed upon the free speech rights of Occupy Trenton protesters.
- Mazdabrook v. Khan
Homeowner not allowed to display political signs on his lawn.
- Derek Fenton v. New Jersey Transit Corporation
State employee terminated for burning a Koran at a protest that he participated in on his day off.
- Phillips v. City of Newark
High school student taken into police custody for filming a police incident on a public bus with her cellphone.
- Botti v. City of Newark
Animal rights protester arrested for protesting on a public sidewalk, outside of a police-designated “protest zone.”
- Salzano v. North Jersey Media Group
Reporters sued for libel when they used information from court documents for their newspaper article.
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