What people have the capacity to choose, they have the ability to change.
Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.thomas jefferson
Laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression; in order that every man may present his views without penalty, there must be a spirit of tolerance in the entire population.Albert Einstein
At the heart of the First Amendment is the recognition of the fundamental importance of the free flow of ideas and opinions on matters of public interest and concern. The freedom to speak one's mind is not only an aspect of individual liberty – and thus a good unto itself – but also is essential to the common quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole. We have therefore been particularly vigilant to ensure that individual expressions of ideas remain free from governmentally imposed sanctions.
There is no indication - either in the text of the Constitution or in our cases interpreting it - that a separate judicial category exists for the American flag alone. ... We decline ... therefore to create for the flag an exception to the joust of principles protected by the First Amendment.
That Men ought to speak well of their Governours is true, while their Governours , deserve to be well spoken of, but to do publick Mischief, without hearing of it, is only the Prerogative and Felicity of Tyranny: A free People will be shewing that they are so, by their Freedom of Speech.
The Administration of Government, is nothing else but the Attendence of the Trustees of the People upon the Interest and Affairs of the People: And as it is the Part and Business of the People, for whole Sake alone all publick Matters are, or ought to be transacted, to see whether they be well or ill transacted, so it is the Interest, and ought to be the Ambition, of all honest Magistrates, to have their Deeds openly examined, and Publickly scann'd[.]
Freedom of Speech is ever the Symptom, as well as the Effect of a good Government. In old Rome, all was left to the Judgment and Pleasure of the People, who examined the publick Proceedings with such Discretion, & censured those who administred them with such Equity and Mildness, that in the space of Three Hundred Years, not five publick Ministers suffered unjustly. Indeed whenever the Commons proceeded to Violence, the great Ones had been the Agressors.
There is nothing so fretting and vexatious , nothing so justly TERRIBLE to tyrants, and their tools and abettors, as a FREE PRESS.
Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
A popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.
How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they demand those they do not have. They have freedom of thought, they demand freedom of speech.
And I honor the man who is willing to sink Half his present repute for the freedom to think, And, when he has thought, be his cause strong or weak, Will risk t'other half for the freedom to speak.james russell lowell
The general rule of law is, that the noblest of human productions knowledge, truths ascertained, conceptions and ideas become, after voluntary communication to others, free as the air to common use.
I realize that, in speaking to you this afternoon, there are certain limitations placed upon the right of free speech. I must be exceedingly careful, prudent, as to what I say, and even more careful and prudent as to how I say it. I may not be able to say all I think; but I am not going to say anything that I do not think.
When men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good is better reached by free trade in ideas that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution.
Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.
Take away freedom of speech, and the creative faculties dry up.
[There exists a] profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.
Authoritative interpretations of the First Amendment guarantees have consistently refused to recognize an exception for any test of truth whether administered by judges, juries, or administrative officials and especially one that puts the burden of proving truth on the speaker.
The censor is always quick to justify his function in terms that are protective of society. But the First Amendment, written in terms that are absolute, deprives the States of any power to pass on the value, the propriety, or the morality of a particular expression.
Prior restraints on speech and publication are the most serious and least tolerable infringement on First Amendment Rights.
The Government may not suppress lawful speech as the means to suppress unlawful speech.
Dissents speak to a future age. It's not simply to say, 'My colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way.' But the greatest dissents do become court opinions and gradually over time their views become the dominant view. So that's the dissenter's hope: that they are writing not for today but for tomorrow.
Among the principles in place that have seemed to work for us are individual freedom of expression (especially for those whose expression offends us) and a strong individual guarantee of privacy in our First Amendment-protected communications.
All speech should be presumed to be protected by the Constitution, and a heavy burden should be placed on those who would censor to demonstrate with relative certainty that the speech at issue, if not censored, would lead to irremediable and immediate serious harm.
Censorship laws are blunt instruments, not sharp scalpels. Once enacted, they are easily misapplied to merely unpopular or only marginally dangerous speech.
Under our First Amendment, a censorship law would have to be written in broad general language and could not be directed at specific religious, ethnic, racial, or political groups. Any such law could be misused by politicians to censor their political enemies or other "undesirable" groups.