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First amendment assignment - Essay Example

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First Amendment Rights One of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment is that of the right to free assembly, which is the ability to gather in peaceful groups without interference. The right to assembly also means that the government cannot police what organizations citizens can form or join; however most Supreme Court cases dealing with the right to assembly have to do with citizen's right to gather for peaceful protest…
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Download file to see previous pages He also tried to stop them from distributing their printed materials using the same claim. Members of this group were removed from the city by force and illegally searched for Labor Union pamphlets. The Supreme Court found that the city's actions violated the citizens rights under the assembly clause of the First Amendent. In addition to that, the Court found that the original city ordinances preventing communist groups from meeting were also a violation of the assembly clause of the First Amendment. This was because the city officials could deny a meeting permit to any group for any reason, simply by claiming that he felt it had the potential to lead to disorderly public conduct. While city officials do have a duty to prevent unlawful conduct from occurring, they cannot infringe on the right to assembly in order to do this. Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 536 (1965) http://supreme.justia.com/us/379/536/case.html Cox v Louisiana was a case of the police overstepping their boundaries on dispelling riots or disruptive demonstrations. A civil rights group was protesting the arrest of some African-American students by gathering on the far side of the street from the courthouse, picketing, and singing songs. At some point, the leader of the group encouraged them to participate in a sit-in protest at the diners on that side of the street. The police construed this as an intent to disturb the peace, and forced the group to disband using tear gas. The group's leader was then arrested for “peace disturbance, obstructing public passages, and courthouse picketing”. Similarly to the Hague v CIO case, the Supreme Court found that the laws defining a peaceful demonstrations versus a disturbance were overly broad. They were designed to protect the peace, but it came at a violation of the First Amendment rights of the populace. In addition, the Supreme Court found that the laws about “obstructing public passages” were not being enforced. Enforcing them in this case seemed like intentional discrimination and a violation of Cox's right to assembly specifically. Hill v. Colorado, 530 U.S. 703 (2000) http://laws.findlaw.com/us/530/703.html Colorado passed a law that stated that petitioners could not approach other visitors to a health care facility within 100 feet of the entrance to that facility in order to hand out printed materials, display signs, or verbally protest their actions. This law was primarily put into place to protect women who were visiting abortion clinics from overbearing protesters. The law was appealed in court because Hill felt that it was a violation of their rights to both free speech and assembly, since citizens could not gather at the entrance to a healthcare facility to engage in peaceful protest. The Supreme Court upheld the law, but only by a 6-3 vote. It was considered acceptable because it limited the places and ways in which speech and assembly could occur, without limiting their right to do so. Petitioners were free to gather at the healthcare facilities and protest, as long as they did so within the confines of the law. However, the dissenting opinions pointed out that the law was only being enforced at abortion clinics and so involved the content of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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