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Free Speech

The right to express yourself regardless of the popularity your views is basic to a democratic society. Throughout its history, the ACLU has met challenges from officials who cite reasons old and new to restrict this right. We recognize that if one person can be silenced, all of us are at risk.
Know Your Rights: Street Speech.  Can I pass out flyers to crowds at a mall?  A farmers market? At a school or campus? Find out!
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PSA to student protesters: You have rights!
After ACLU mation, Whatcom County prosecutor withdrew a search warrant for protest group's Facebook page

Resources

News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Justice (CFJ) have reached an agreement with the Spokane Transit Authority to protect freedom of speech at the Plaza in downtown Spokane. The agreement settles a lawsuit challenging restrictions on free speech at Plaza sidewalks that the groups filed on behalf of Donald Ausderau, a Christian minister, and the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Spokane in June 2003.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
The lawsuit challenges the North Central Regional Library District's use of a strict Internet filter on public computers, and its refusal to temporarily disable the filter for adult users.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
A settlement between student Nick Emmett and Kent School District has ended the district’s attempt to punish the student because of a Web site created on his home computer. Under terms of the settlement negotiated by the ACLU, the suburban Seattle district will not pursue disciplinary action against Emmett over the Web site and will pay his attorney fees.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
The Pierce County Council voted unanimously on Aug. 9 to repeal a rule that barred speakers at public meetings from attacking or questioning the motives of council members. The action followed a letter by the ACLU objecting to the policy.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
In the latest ACLU case backing student rights in cyberspace, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Thomas McPhee today ruled that public school officials cannot punish a student for free speech outside of school.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
As the nation approaches the one-year anniversary of the USA PATRIOT Act, the American Civil Liberties Union today announced a new nationwide effort to recover the freedoms that Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Bush Administration have rolled back since last year's terrorist attacks. "Keep America Safe and Free: The Campaign to Defend the Constitution" is a national effort involving litigation, grassroots organizing, and community education in all 50 states.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
The ACLU of Washington writes to express its concern over a practice of the Yelm City Council governing public comment periods during council meetings. According to recent press reports, the Council will routinely block discussion of topics -- or even particular words, such as "moratorium" -- that the Council does not wish to hear about. This practice frustrates the entire purpose of a public comment period, which is to allow citizens the opportunity to tell their representatives what they care about. The ability of citizens to state their views about matters of public concern is one of the cornerstones of a free and accountable government. Yelm's practice of silencing public comment violates that principle.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
For the second time, Washington's high court invalidated a law that empowered the government to regulate what is said during political campaigns.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
An amateur photographer has obtained compensation from the city of Seattle after he was arrested simply for taking photos of police making an arrest.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
As Seattle neared "N30," the one-year anniversary of the World Trade Organization (WTO) protests on November 30th, free speech advocates held our collective breath in hopes that the City would "get it right" this time by dealing properly with protest activities. Responding to saber-rattling comments by some officials, the ACLU urged the City to respect free speech rights, and we readied our Web site report form to receive complaints of police misconduct.

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