Freedom of Speech

PFAW Panel: Constitutional Remedies to Overturn Citizens United

PFAW is hosting a panel on Capitol Hill with members of Congress and state and local lawmakers to showcase the rapidly growing movement across the country to address the threat to our democracy from unrestrained corporate spending to influence our elections, made possible by the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC.

PFAW Praises Yarmuth-Jones Amendment to Protect Democratic Principles

Today, Congressmen John Yarmuth (D-KY) and Walter Jones (R-NC) introduced a constitutional amendment to restore fairness to our electoral system. The resolution addresses harm caused by the Supreme Court’s flawed decision in Citizens United by declaring that spending on elections does not qualify as protected speech under the First Amendment, giving Congress the authority to create a public financing system as the sole source of funding for federal elections and designating a national holiday for the purpose of voting.

PFAW Praises Ellison Amendment to Reverse Citizens United

PFAW Praises Ellison Amendment to Reverse Citizens United

Representative Keith Ellison (MN-5) introduced the “Get Corporate Money Out of Politics Amendment” today, a constitutional amendment that would empower Congress to regulate corporate influence in elections. The amendment would reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v.

ALEC’s Firm Hold on the Arizona Legislature

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a key voice for corporate special interests in state legislatures across the county, is welcomed with an especially warm embrace in Arizona, according to a new report released today by People For the American Way Foundation and Common Cause.

PFAW Foundation Invites Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn to Debate Arts Censorship and Religious Freedom

People For the American Way Foundation President Michael Keegan has invited Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn to a public debate on arts censorship and religious liberty in light of the controversy over a new exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.

Violence Never An Option Against Peaceful Protests

Law enforcement officials broke up the Oakland offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street protests this week with tear gas and, some protestors say, rubber bullets. Violence should never be used against peaceful protesters.

Congresswoman Donna Edwards Introduces Constitutional Amendment To Reverse Citizens United

Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) introduced a constitutional amendment that would restore to Congress and the states the authority to regulate corporate spending on political activity, including contributions in support of or in opposition to a candidate for public office. This proposed amendment seeks to overturn the Supreme Court’s deeply flawed decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which granted corporations the same Free Speech rights as people to spend money to influence elections. The amendment is similar to one introduced in the last Congress, and was introduced with the support of 14 other co-sponsors.

“We applaud this bold step by Representatives Edwards and Conyers to place limits on the corporate spending on elections which is hurtling out of control. It is time that we take down the for sale sign on our democracy and constitutional remedies such as that proposed by Representatives Edwards and Conyers are the only meaningful way to do that,” said Marge Baker, executive vice president at People For the American Way. “Reversing the damage caused by Citizens United is absolutely crucial to making sure that the American people – and not the deepest-pocketed corporations – hold the keys to our democracy. The pro-corporate Supreme Court is taking us down a slippery slope, and it’s time for bold steps to preserve the democratic promise of government by the people.”

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The Smithsonian’s Censorship Forum....Over Four Months Too Late

A Smithsonian panel reveals that Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough did a huge disservice to the institution he leads and to free expression in the United States by removing a work of art from the National Portrait Gallery after a manufactured right-wing uproar.

As Smithsonian Continues to Duck Controversy, PFAW Report Draws Lessons On How Not to Respond to Political Bullies

A new report from People For the American Way draws lessons on ways institutions can respond to right-wing-generated controversies, by evaluating the chain of events that led to the Smithsonian’s removal of a work of art from the National Portrait Gallery.

How Not to Respond to Political Bullies: Lessons from the Smithsonian’s Response to the Manufactured Right-Wing Controversy Over Hide/Seek

A new report from People For the American Way draws lessons on ways institutions can respond to right-wing-generated controversies, by evaluating the chain of events that led to the Smithsonian’s removal of a work of art from the National Portrait Gallery.

Smithsonian Gives in to the Far Right, Censors the Artist Who “Spoiled Christmas”

Yesterday GOP leaders called for censoring a privately-funded exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Museum director Martin Sullivan has announced that the disputed work has been removed from the exhibit.

PFAW: Where We've Been and Where We're Going

The recent and unparalleled resurgence of right-wing extremism in todays politics concerns us deeply. But thanks to three decades of PFAW activists, we can meet any challenge.

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Supreme Court Rules Religious Monuments to be Government Speech

The Supreme Court today ruled that religious monuments on government property constitute government speech in Pleasant Grove City v. Summum. PFAW Foundation President Kathryn Kolbert issued the following statement: "I'm pleased that the Court today made clear that religious monuments like the one the Summum sought to erect are government speech. I'm especially glad the decision acknowledged that the establishment clause provides a limit on what government can use that speech to say. Government shouldn't favor one religion over another or favor any religion over no religion at all." PFAW Foundation filed an amicus brief in the case.

Schools and Censorship: Banned Books

An overview of attempts- some successful- to ban books in public schools.

Wendy Gonaver's Fight for Free Speech and Religious Liberty

When Wendy Gonaver was fired for standing up for her religious beliefs, she took action.

Stories of Super-Activism: Vicki Ryder & the Women of Rochester, NY

A video of the the rally of 300 women superstar activist Vicki Ryder organized in Rochester, NY to say "Sarah Palin Doesn't Speak For Me."

Florida Supreme Court Removes Voucher Amendments from Ballot

Following oral argument this morning, the Florida Supreme Court this afternoon unanimously ordered that two proposed state constitutional amendments cannot appear on the November ballot. The amendments would have repealed the Florida Constitution's prohibition on public aid to religious institutions and allowed public funds to be used to subsidize religious and other private education. Placed on the ballot by the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, the proposed constitutional amendments were intended to overturn the Court's 2006 ruling that invalidated the state's voucher law. The Court today ruled that the Commission overstepped its authority by placing the items on the ballot.
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