Attorney General Lockyer Issues Statement On Art Exhibit In California Department Of Justice Building

Thursday, July 28, 2005
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today issued the following statement on “A Creative Merger: Artists and Lawyers,” an exhibit sponsored by California Lawyers for the Arts now on display in the California Department of Justice’s headquarters building in Sacramento:

“This exhibit is one of many the Department of Justice has displayed on a rotating basis over the past six years – at no expense to taxpayers. I don’t endorse any of the pieces. Some suit my taste; some don’t. But neither my taste, nor anyone else’s, should determine how much free speech others get to exercise.

“Some would like me to act like a Soviet-style government censor and remove pieces from the exhibit that critics have deemed offensive. I will not, my office will not, engage in such censorship. The Constitution prohibits it. As the United States Supreme Court has stated, ‘The Constitution does not permit government to decide which types of otherwise protected speech are sufficiently offensive to require protection for the unwilling listener or viewer.’

“Sometimes, it’s tempting to turn our backs on the freedoms and liberties provided by our Constitution. But we have to keep faith in the First Amendment and the free marketplace of ideas. They protect every American, and we have fought and died to preserve them. It’s because of them our country stands as the world’s greatest nation.”

For more, see the attached letter.

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PDF icon Letter to Californians34.25 KB
PDF icon Letter to Californians34.25 KB