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.
- October 19, 2017 ACLU-NJ Scorecard Shows Mixed Civil Liberties Records
- January 19, 2017 Policy Sparked by ACLU-NJ Suit Protects Right to Film Cops
- October 21, 2016 Middletown Rally Sends Message Chilling Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
- September 22, 2016 Bergen Man Close to Victory in Ending Unconstitutional Sign Limits
- August 16, 2016 Christie’s Signing of NJ Anti-Boycott Bill Undermines Free Speech
- June 27, 2016 NJ Assembly Passes Anti-Boycott Bill that Suppresses Political Speech and Creates Blacklists
- June 23, 2016 ACLU-NJ Reaffirms Opposition to Anti-Boycott Bill
- June 8, 2016 Anti-Boycott Bill Harms Speech & Creates Blacklists, ACLU-NJ Says
- April 21, 2016 ACLU-NJ Defends NJ Man Ticketed For Flying Trump Flags
- March 8, 2016 Student’s Political Tweets Not Bullying, School Officials Rule
- E&J Equities v. Board of Adjustment of Township of Franklin
Town ordinance effectively prohibits electronic billboards
- State v. Pomianek
A victim’s perception of what the defendant intended by their words is not enough to convict someone of bias intimidation.
- State v. Bessey
Animal rights activist tickets for violating ordinance that had been changed the day of the protest and which she was unaware of.
- Assessmentgate v. Montlcair Board of Education
Montclair Board of Education subpoenaed Google for information that would identify anonymous blogger.
- 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.
- Campaign Contribution and Expenditure Disclosure
Extends election expenditure reporting requirements to certain non-profit advocacy organizations.
- Blog: Free Speech & Loathing in New Jersey (2008)
- ACLU-NJ Legal Director Ed Barocas on Twin Rivers Ruling (2007)
- Don't Fight Hate Speech By Limiting Freedom (2006)
- Right to Protest (41k PDF)
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