The First Amendment protects our right to speak, assemble, organize, protest and practice – or not practice – religion. These rights and freedoms are the foundation of our democracy.
As the premier guardian of civil liberties in the Commonwealth, the ACLU of Virginia bears a special responsibility to defend our First Amendment rights. Over the last 50 years, we have:
- Challenged unconstitutional book bans in schools and public libraries.
- Sued to limit mass surveillance by police through the use of automatic license plate readers.
- Protected the right to protest by observing police during lawful demonstrations and represented protesters in court when police violated their rights.
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Under a Virginia law that hasn’t been used in decades, an individual filed a petition to the court claiming that the books are “obscene.” If the courts had agreed, anyone in Virginia who published, sold, lent or transported these two books may have been held liable.
We fought in court and stopped that from happening. Censorship has no place in America, and Virginians should have access to these books.