Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Expressive Association Definition:

A group that engages in some form of public or private expression.

Related Terms: Freedom of Expression, First Amendment

In Forum, Justice Ambro wrote:

"A group that engages in some form of public or private expression above a de minimis threshold is an expressive association. The group need not be an advocacy group or exist primarily for the purpose of expression."

Similarly, in Beta Upsilon, Justice Mickle used these words:

"Expressive association is the right to associate for the purpose of engaging in those activities protected by the First Amendment: speech, assembly, petition for the redress of grievances, and the exercise of religion.

"The courts have long understood as implicit in the right to engage in activities protected by the First Amendment a corresponding right to associate with others in pursuit of a wide variety of political, social, economic, educational, religious, and cultural ends."


  • Beta Upsilon Chi v. Machen, 559 F. Supp. 2d 1274 (Florida, 2008)
  • Forum for Academic v. Rumsfeld, 390 F. 3d 219 (United States Court of Appeals, 2004)

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