Free Speech Issues The ACLU of Rhode Island is Involved With - Court Cases, Legislation, News Releases


Protecting Civil Liberties in Rhode Island for Over 50 Years


Free Speech

Protecting the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment has always been in the forefront of the ACLU’s mission. The ACLU of Rhode Island was founded 60 years ago largely in response to widespread government efforts to censor books, films, and theater.  Today, the ACLU routinely defends the right of citizens to exercise their freedom of speech, of the press, of association, and of petition and protest, no matter how unpopular their opinions may be.

Free Speech in the News

  • Jan, 22, 2021: ACLU Sues Town of Portsmouth over Political Sign Ban
  • Oct, 04, 2020: Court Rules That Ban on “Offensive” License Plates Likely Violates First Amendment
  • Aug, 18, 2020: ACLU of RI Sues on Behalf of Black Recruit Drummed Out of the Providence Police Academy

View All Free Speech Related News Releases »

Free Speech Related Court Cases

2021: DiPaola v. Portsmouth
Category: Active Case    Free Speech    Right to Petition & Protest    

About this Case:
This is a federal lawsuit challenging a Portsmouth town ordinance that bans the posting of political signs on residential property.

Current Status:
Filed in January 2021.

Richard A. Sinapi


Supporting Documents
2020: Blanchette v. Narragansett
Category: Active Case    Criminal Justice    Free Speech    Police Practices    Students' Rights    Youth Rights    

About this Case:
This is a lawsuit in federal court seeking monetary damages on behalf of a former Narragansett High School student with special education needs who was thrown to the ground, choked and falsely arrested by a school resource officer (SRO). A video of the incident is available here.

Current Status:
Lawsuit filed in May 2020.

ACLU of RI Cooperating Attorney:
Amato A. DeLuca

Supporting Documents