Freedom of speech is the First Amendment of the Constitution. The First Amendment protects an individual's right to criticize the government, express religious beliefs and assemble and protest as part of protected expression.
Freedom of speech allows people in the United States the right to voice concerns and speak their minds without punishment or interference of the government. If the government restricts speech of any kind, the Supreme Court has ruled that it must provide justification for the regulation of speech, according to Cornell University's Legal Information Institute. Hate speech, acts of violence, obscenities, commercial speech or advertising may receive less protection under the First Amendment.