100th Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Free Speech Jurisprudence

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s free speech jurisprudence. On March 4, 1919, the Court issued a decision in Schenck v. United States, and in the intervening years, it has repeated and clarified its defense of free expression. Many of those decisions remain highly relevant to today’s controversies—from the 1943 decision in West Virginia v. Barnette affirming an individual’s choice to participate or not in the Pledge of Allegiance to the 1967 Keyishian v. Board of Regents championing free speech, association, and academic independence in higher education.

“Our country’s challenges change, but the importance of free expression in addressing them remains constant,” said Charles Koch Institute’s Casey Mattox. “Throughout our history, civil liberties have made it possible for individuals to stand against injustice, especially when their positions represented views unpopular at the times. First Amendment protections continue to enable social change—empowering movements working toward freedom for all people.”

The conversations the United States has had for the past century around free expression are just as relevant today. Technological innovation means continued opportunity to understand and defend free expression in the wake of new platforms and new tools. We support scholars, including those at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University studying free speech and press freedom in the digital age, faculty at the Stanford Law School’s Religious Liberty Clinic giving law students first-chair to learn the finer points of constitutional law, and other partners addressing critical questions.

10-29-2019 08:49am

Communities Overcoming Extremism Releases Report on Tools to Prevent Violence

The Communities Overcoming Extremism initiative recently released its report documenting ways to better understand the causes of intolerance and extremism.

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10-14-2019 09:35am

Statement on the University of Wisconsin Regents’ Passage of a Mandatory Student Punishment Policy

Imposing mandatory minimum punishments without defining for students what actions will subject them to punishment will stifle campus dialogue rather than enrich it.

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10-07-2019 11:47am

Statement from Will Ruger on Pullback of U.S. Troops from Syrian-Turkish Border

William Ruger, VP of Research and Policy at CKI, responds to the pullback of U.S. troops from Syrian-Turkish border. Read his statement.

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