Freedom of Assembly 1st Amendment Freedoms Protecting the Freedom to Assemble • This right is closely related to the freedom of speech because the assemblies often support controversial speeches. • 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 results. • 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 assembly. • 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 people. Limitations on Public Assemblies • Almost anywhere can be used for public protests including airports, libraries, and courthouses. • 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 clinics. 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 occurring. 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 protests. • The police must enforce keeping the protesters at proper distances and in certain designated places. 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 causes. • Assemblers hope to catch the governments attention to their movements. 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 government 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 controversy. • 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 employment.