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.

06-30-2020 10:40am

Supreme Court strikes a blow against free speech in Soros case, Charles Koch Institute fellow says

"At the heart of the First Amendment lies the principle that every person should decide for themselves what they want to say, or whether they want to say anything at all."

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06-18-2020 12:12pm

Conversations about race, equality, and the American experience

Organizations such as Braver Angels offer a path forward—driving a movement that seeks to create a space for dialogue to help us better understand each other and learn from each other. In a time where we’re having important conversations about race, equality, and the American experience, hearing each other’s voices is incredibly important.

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06-17-2020 10:15am

Lessons from Tiananmen Square for American Protesters

While Beijing pushed for measures to prevent protests, vigils, and other speech around the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, Americans across the country started raising their voices to speak out against long entrenched injustices. Charles Koch Institute Director of Free Expression Sarah Ruger spoke to this essential component of progress in a recent commentary in Real Clear World.

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