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 more than 60 lawsuits to defend the First Amendment and have won the vast majority of them, including one U.S. Supreme Court victory and eight major victories at the federal appellate court level.
- In 2017, we launched five new lawsuits, including cases challenging the regulation of dietary advice in Florida, the regulation of teaching in California and North Carolina, and the regulation of speech about engineering topics in Oregon.
- 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.
Joshua Gray, a private investigator, wanted to expand his business into his home state of Maine. In violation of his First Amendment rights, the state denied his request for a license, because he has criticized police practices. In September of 2021, IJ asked the Supreme Court to hear Joshua’s case.
Latest First Amendment News
Liberty & Law Article
First Amendment Research
Commercial Speech | Economic Liberty | First Amendment | Food Freedom | Food Freedom
The question of whether the Constitution allows the government to change the meanings of words is receiving renewed interest in the aftermath of the FDA’s announcement that it intends to examine whether it should begin…
Commercial Speech | First Amendment | Occupational Licensing
More Americans than ever need a license to work. But what do occupational licenses actually accomplish? This case study of one such license adds to a growing body of research that suggests this red tape…