The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution creates a bedrock for American values and the ACLU's mission.
As enshrined in the First Amendment, religious freedom includes two complementary protections: the right to religious belief and expression and a guarantee that the government neither prefers religion over non-religion nor favors particular faiths over others. These dual protections work hand in hand, allowing religious liberty to thrive and safeguarding both religion and government from the undue influences of the other. In Lincoln, we have taken the case of a 77 year old Nebraska veteran and grandfather who was criminally cited for peacefully expressing his religious view in the public square.
Freedom of speech, the press, association, assembly, and petition: This set of guarantees, protected by the First Amendment, comprises what we refer to as freedom of expression. It is the foundation of a vibrant democracy, and without it, other fundamental rights, like the right to vote, would wither away. In greater Nebraska we have successfully defended the right of citizens who were threatened with prosecution for publicly criticizing local government officials.
Speech on campus has often been the epicenter of modern conversations on the First Amendment. Nebraska's students have the right to speak their mind on social media and to run school newspapers free of undue censorship. We monitor 151 public school districts in Nebraska for violations of free speech.
The ACLU's work in Nebraska has taken us from Scottsbluff to Omaha, communities large and small, to protect individual rights of expression from governmental entanglement. We firmly believe that constitutional rights must apply to even the most unpopular groups if they're going to be preserved for everyone.