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The Year in First Amendment Rights: Victories

James Tucker,
Washington Legislative Office
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December 31, 2007

As 2007 and another session of Congress ends, it’s appropriate to reflect on some of the legislation that affected the First Amendment this year. With the support of our coalition partners and allies on the Hill, we won many victories. But we also continue to face many threats to freedom of speech, religion, association, belief and the press.

Among some of our notable victories this year: For the first time ever, we saw federal reporters’ shield legislation pass through the House by an overwhelming veto-proof margin, with a very real hope that the legislation will finally become law in 2008.

We blocked efforts to regulate grassroots lobbying that would have restricted the right to petition our elected officials.

More open government became a reality through expanded access to the Freedom of Information Act that passed the Senate by unanimous consent and the House by voice vote. And last, but not least, we succeeded in killing several faith-based measures that violated the separation of church and state.

This week, I’ll be blogging in more detail about net neutrality; internet censorship; national security and free speech; television censorship; and media consolidation and free speech. We hope that 2008 will promise greater protections for the First Amendment rights of all Americans. The challenges we faced in 2007 show we have a long way to go in the year ahead.

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