First Amendment

The Institute for Justice Defends Free Speech Through Constitutional Litigation

Central to the mission of the Institute for Justice is reinvigorating the founding principles of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We seek to defend the free flow of information—information that is indispensable to our democratic form of government and to our free enterprise economy.

  • Since IJ’s founding, we have launched nearly 50 lawsuits to defend the First Amendment and have won the vast majority of them, including one U.S. Supreme Court victory and six major victories at the federal appellate court level.
  • Through the end of 2014, we won a major federal appellate court case that struck down testing requirements for Washington, D.C.’s tour guide license as unconstitutional. We also filed three new cases and successfully defeated Oregon’s attempts to censor advertisements about raw milk.
  • Our lawsuits have earned considerable media coverage by outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today and The Associated Press and in columns by George Will.

To protect free speech rights, IJ litigates to protect commercial, occupational and political speech. Because free markets depend on the free flow of information, IJ has long defended the right of business owners to communicate commercial speech to their customers. The Institute for Justice has also litigated groundbreaking cases in defense of occupational speech, protecting authors, tour guides, interior designers and others who speak for a living or offer advice from government regulations designed to stifle or silence their speech. Finally, we have been at the forefront of the fight against laws that hamstring the political speech of ordinary citizens and entrench political insiders. These laws include burdensome campaign finance laws and restrictions on grassroots lobbying.

Through IJ’s litigation, we seek to ensure that government regulation is constrained and that speakers and listeners are able to freely exchange information on the topics that matter most to them. Speakers and listeners should determine the value of speech, not the government.


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