The First Amendment protects our freedom to speak, assemble, and associate with others. These rights are essential to our democratic system of governance. The Supreme Court has written that freedom of expression is "the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom." Without it, other fundamental rights, like the right to vote, would cease to exist. Since its founding, the ACLU has advocated for broad protection of our First Amendment rights in times of war and peace, to ensure that the marketplace of ideas remains vigorous and unrestricted.