Free Speech & Expression

Freedom of speech, of the press, of association, of assembly and petition -- this set of guarantees, protected by the First Amendment, comprises what we refer to as freedom of expression.

The ACLU works to make sure that all speech - even messages we vehemently disagree with - has a chance to be heard. We protect the right to leaflet and demonstrate on government property, sidewalks, and parks throught out the state. We oppose spying by federal and local agencies on groups and individuals based on their lawful political and religious beliefs, practices, and associations.


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Legal Cases

  • Owsiany v. City of Greensburg
    Lawsuit to stop the city of Greensburg from retaliating against a lawyer and his client who filed a civil rights lawsuit alleging use of excessive force by police.
  • Brown v. Vitalbo
    African-American Pittsburgh residents verbally abused by police officer and threatened with arrest for recording interaction.
  • Dewey Homes & Industrial Properties
    The ACLU of Pennsylvania sent a letter to a Butler County developer and its co-plaintiffs demanding that they drop their lawsuit against five Middlesex Township residents and two nonprofit organizations, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Clean Air Council, who oppose a local pro-drilling/fracking zoning ordinance.
  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Brubaker
    Pennsylvania resident charged with flag desecration after spray-painting the initials "A.I.M." on an American flag, then hanging the flag upside down on his home.
  • Prison Legal News v. Kane
    Lawsuit seeking to block enforcement of a state law, known as the "Silencing Act," that stifles the free speech rights of thousands of individuals and organizations.
  • Northeastern PA Freethought Society v. County of Lackawanna Transit System
    Public transit system refuses to allow the Northeastern PA Freethought Society to advertise on its buses.
  • Plum Borough High School
    Students of Plum Borough High School were threatened with criminal prosecution if they commented about an ongoing investigation into teacher-student sexual conduct at the high school.
  • Geraci v. City of Philadelphia
    Woman shoved against a wall and restrained by the neck by a Philadelphia police officer for photographing the arrest of a protester.
  • Cabot Oil & Gas Corp v. Scroggins
    A court injunction bars anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins of Brackney, Pa. not only from properties owned by Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation, but all properties in Susquehanna County.
  • Henderson v. Gromek
    African American man falsely arrested by white Pittsburgh police officer and jailed for 12 hours
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