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Happy New Year! New year, same newsletter — still as dedicated to protecting the First Amendment and fostering a culture of free speech as last year. Just maybe with a bit more soreness as my New Year’s resolution has me heading back to the gym for the first time in… well, I’m not sure!
I wanted to start off the New Year by looking back on free speech in 2022. As I mentioned in my last newsletter, Americans feel more polarized today than in recent history. But the culture doesn’t always reflect the law.
That was the case in 2022, when the Supreme Court continued its streak of strengthening the First Amendment with its decisions (which I hope carries over in 2023!), and Americans for Prosperity continued to fight back against government encroaching on Americans’ First Amendment rights.
Here are three big free speech moments of 2022:
Just a few weeks after announcing plans to create a Disinformation Governance Board, the Department of Homeland Security backpedaled on those plans, in a victory for free speech. More speech, not censorship, is the answer to bad ideas and government has no place making itself the arbiter of truth online.
Creating a Disinformation Governance Board was a bad idea. AFP grassroots activists and other Americans responded by speaking out against it, and the Biden administration responded by announcing it was terminating its plans. The size and energy of the response by Americans to this threat to the First Amendment was a highlight of the year. Learn more.
FIRE has long been one of the leading organizations advocating for free speech. Last year, the organization shifted its focus from campuses to become the Foundation of Individual Rights and Expression, to take on a larger mission of defending free speech more broadly.
Don’t worry — they’re committed as ever to advocating for free speech on campus — check out the 2022-2023 College Free Speech Rankings. They’ve expanded, not changed, their mission.
When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of “the praying coach” in Kennedy v. Bremerton, it decided that government, as an employer, cannot punish the people it hires for their personal expression – helping to correct the mistake it made in Garcetti v. Ceballos and more fully protecting the First Amendment rights of educators. Learn more.
But fostering a culture of free speech isn’t just about protecting the First Amendment in legislation and judicial decisions. It’s also about understanding we won’t always agree but still need to find a way to coexist alongside each other.
We need to look past our differences to find common ground and work toward solutions for the challenges facing our society.
So with that in mind, here are three free speech resolutions for the new year:
For even more on how to come together despite our differences, read my Stand Together colleague Branden Polk on three tools for bridging divides in the new year.
Thank you for being here; I’m incredibly grateful to all the principled folks who care about protecting Americans’ First Amendment rights. Here’s to another great year of continuing to expand every Americans’ rights to ensure each American can use his or her voice for the causes they believe in.
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