"[Freedom of expression] is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom."
- Benjamin N. Cardozo, Supreme Court Justice
Photo from ACLU of Georgia "By the People" Lobby Day
The First Amendment of the United States Consitution grants the right to freedom of speech, the right to freedom of the press, and the right to freedom of assembly and association. Collectively, these rights, along with a few others, are the foundation of each individual's broader right to express themselves.
Without this right, who knows what America would look like today. Unpopular or politically different speech would be at risk, artistic expression would be in danger of being curtailed, and civil society would likely be constrained.
Unfortunately, despite the clear significance of the right to freedom of expression, there have been many times in America's history where individuals have lost sight of its critical importance (e.g. McCarthyism). Going forward, the ACLU will continue to defend each individual's right to expression regardless of whether the content of their speech is something we agree with. If some reasonable expression is at risk, then all reasonable expression is at risk.