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Can my free speech be restricted because of what I say—even if it is controversial?


No. The First Amendment generally prohibits restrictions based on the content of speech. However, this does not mean that the Constitution completely protects all types of speech in every circumstance. For example, threatening someone with violence is not protected. Additionally government officials are allowed to place certain reasonable, nondiscriminatory, and narrowly drawn “time, place, and manner” restrictions on the exercise of First Amendment rights. This means police and other government officials can reasonably restrict where, when, and how certain speech is expressed, for example, requiring a permit for a parade that requires blocking traffic or street closures. But any such restrictions must apply to all speech regardless of its content or speaker.