The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression

Since 1992, the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression has celebrated the birth and ideals of its namesake by calling attention to those who in the past year forgot or disregarded Mr. Jefferson’s admonition that freedom of speech “cannot be limited without being lost.”


The Federal Communications Commission
“You don’t know where the line is, and that’s what’ s scaring people.” — John Ridley, novelist and writer for television and film

The Democratic and Republican National Parties
“One cannot conceive of what other design elements could be put into a space to create a more symbolic affront to the role of free expression.” — U. S. District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock, commenting on the “free speech zone” for political protestors at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston

School officials at Poway (CA) High School, Climax (MN) Public School District, and Russell (KY) High School
“Your faith is great, but when your faith is offensive, you need to leave it in the car” — Officials at Poway (CA) High School in justifying a ban on a student’s wearing to school a T-shirt that read “Homosexuality Is Shameful”

The (Motion Picture) Classification and Rating Administration
“Our characters are made of wood and have no genitalia…all they’d get is splinters.” — Scott Rudin, producer of the movie Team America

High School of Legal Studies in Brooklyn (NY)
“What bozo tried to hold back a diploma in a country where freedom of speech is so prized, I don’t know.” — Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City

The National Stock Car Racing Commission (NASCAR)
“It don’t mean shit right now. Daddy’s won here ten times.” — Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (responding to a reporter’s question about the significance of his win moments after winning his fifth victory at Talladega Superspeedway in October 2004)

The U.S. Marshals Service
“You are correct that the action was not taken at my direction; I was as upset as you were.” — Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

The United States Department of State and The United States Department of Homeland Security
“Restricting access of Cuban academics to the United States is consistent with the overall tightening of our policy” — Darla Jordan, U.S. State Department spokesperson, explaining the denial of visas to all 61 Cuban scholars scheduled to participate in the international congress of the Latin American Studies Association

The Virginia House of Delegates
“Please let these kids express themselves. It’ll pass on. Don’t fine these young kids.” — Virginia House of Delegate Lionell Spruill

Alabama State Representative Gerald Allen
“Half the books in the library could end up being banned. It’s all based on how one interprets the material.” — Juanita Owes, director of Montgomery City County Library, commenting on a bill proposed in the Alabama House of Representatives

Georgia State Representative Ben Bridges
“It’s in the book that [evolution is] a theory, but these teachers teach it like it’s a fact…. Let’s teach them the truth or don’t teach them anything.” — Georgia State Representative Ben Bridges

Berkmar High School (Georgia) Principal Kendall Johnson
“We wanted to run a ‘censored’ stamp on the page. But Mr. Johnson censored our ‘censored’ stamp…” — Kelly Shaul, Student Copy Editor of the student-run Berkmar High School newspaper, The Liberty

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s