Freedom of Assembly - Methacton School District

Freedom of Assembly
1st Amendment Freedoms
Protecting the Freedom to
• This right is closely
related to the freedom of
speech because the
assemblies often
support controversial
• This freedom is also
protected by the 14th
amendment for equality
and due process.
Assemble on Public Property
• Assemblies are often held
in public locations including
parks and streets.
• Because people come in
contact with the
assemblers, conflict often
• Due to this fact, the gov’t
often has more regulations
than a normal freedom of
speech act.
Limits on Public Assemblies
• Often, permits are
necessary to hold an
• Permits are not required
to limit peoples 1st
amendment rights, but to
make sure that the
assembly is not
interrupted by people to
ensure the safety of the
Limitations on Public
• Almost anywhere can be used
for public protests including
airports, libraries, and
• Exception #1 - Jails, because
they are denied public access
to begin with.
• Exception #2 – Schools,
though this may different from
state to state.
• Exception #3 – No use of
private property, i.e. abortion
Public Disorder
• Every year, the Aryan Nation
has an assembling at Valley
Forge National Park.
• Protests groups will be
charged high permit costs to
protect their groups from
violent protests, called
“heckler’s veto.”
• The gov’t will almost always
attempt to not allow unpopular
demonstrations as opposed to
prevent violent actions from
Gregory v City of Chicago, 1969
• Story – Richard Gregory led a group of
marchers to city hall in downtown Chicago. The
largely African-American protesters called for
the school superintendents job. Despite having
a peaceful assembly, the police asked
Gregory’s group to disperse because of the
possible violence from the white crowd that had
been gathering. Gregory refused and was
promptly arrested.
• Amendment Challenged – 1st
• Decision – The court ruled that because the
demonstrators did not cause imminent violence,
they were not at fault and could not be held
accountable for the actions of others.
• Impact – The nature of the assembly decides
how the police can handle the situations that
arrive from that assembly.
Westboro Baptist Protestors
• The Supreme Court
stated 8-1 in Snyder v
Phelps (2012), that the
protesters did not have
civil liability for their
• The police must enforce
keeping the protesters at
proper distances and in
certain designated
Marches in D.C.
• Movement marches occur
throughout the year in
Washington D.C.
• These marches often
draw a lot of national
media attention to various
• Assemblers hope to catch
the governments
attention to their
Occupy Wall Street
• Protesters were
angry about how the
US government
bailed out many of
the banks that
caused the
economic problems
of the last few years,
as well as the lack of
regulation and
prosecution of those
involved in these
faulty investments.
Occupy Wall Street
• Due to faulty investments
by these banks, mainly in
housing, the US economy
went down, people lost their
retirement their savings,
and their jobs.
• Many cities finally revoked
demonstration permits due to
cost of policing the
demonstrations and conditions
in the “tent cities” that cities no
longer wanted to foster.
Are picketing and protesting
the same thing?
• Picketing and protesting have been
debated back and forth by the courts
for a long time.
• Do they have the same constitutional
rights as assemblies?
• Assembling in front of abortion clinics
and groups like Occupy Wall Street
have become lightning rods for
• The courts have become more strict
against picketers and protesters to
ensure that their actions do not incite
violence or physically restrain people
from entering a business or workers
from entering their places of