The rights to free speech, assembly, worship, and a press are critical to an informed and engaged public. The ACLU Maryland is a vigilant defender of the First Amendment because we believe the free exchange of ideas is among the greatest instruments that communities that are not provided adequate resources, wield. As forums for public discourse evolve on electronic platforms, upholding free speech remains a cornerstone of our work.
Freedom of speech is so integral to democracy that its protection is assured within the very First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court has written that this freedom is “the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom.” Methods of publishing, assembly, worship, and censorship are quickly changing, and the ACLU Maryland works tirelessly to ensure that our constitutional protections keep pace.
"Use your power. SPEAK UP!” — Ashley Overbey Support Students' Free Speech Rights
In February, Mariana Taylor silently and respectfully knelt adjacent to her desk when the Pledge of Allegiance was recited during her morning homeroom class. She was confronted by her teacher, who told Mariana that the "rules" require that she must stand for the Pledge. "The Supreme Court has been very clear that students do not lose their First Amendment rights when they enter the schoolhouse door," said Jay Jimenez, Legal Associate for the ACLU of Maryland.