First Amendment Right To Protest Government Deemed Illegal

So you were thinking of exercising your First Amendment right to protest your government in the nation’s capitol? Well think again. It quite possibly could be considered illegal and you would be charged with a federal crime according to the new law signed this week.

I wrote previously on how the House and Senate had passed HR 347, which is a simply written (only two pages) bill that, in essence, would stop any protest that was deemed to:

“impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions;”

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Furthermore, the bill states,

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“knowingly enters or remains in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so;”

So this bill has been signed into law by President Obama this past Thursday, just days after it’s passing in the Congress.

Because of the vagueness of the law, it is quite possible that it can apply not only in the capital but also anywhere in the country where official government business is going on and we can all see how the politicians who don’t want to deal with protesters could claim government business is being conducted anywhere that they are at.

The utter ambiguity of the law and the flippant means by which we have seen the D.C. Police handle protest matters in the past leads to some serious considerations as to anyone feeling safe to protest their government over grievances.

This is exactly what the politicians want. They want the people scared. They want them to fear the government. My friends, as Judge Andrew Napolitano said,

“When people fear the government, that’s tyranny, but when the government fears the people, that is freedom.”

They fear what we are able to do, which is call them out and demand that they stop interfering in our lives. They don’t want to hear that, and even if we gather with signs and protest quietly on the White House lawn or the steps of the Supreme Court, they will use every twisted line of this new law, which is a violation of the First Amendment, to infringe upon our rights.

You could be charged with a federal crime for entering a building you didn’t know was restricted! You could face federal charges for showing up and protesting quietly outside the White House or Congress simply because they deemed that you were somehow disrupting or impeding government business.

Our founding fathers knew of such tyranny. The Bill of Rights they laid out were things the federal government was not at liberty to remove by conflicting laws just because they wanted to. This law, as well as those who supported it, is a violation of the Constitution. It, along with many others like it that have been signed into law are taking from the American people more and more liberty.

America has been in the slow heated water for several decades now. It is beginning to boil and most don’t even know it, nor do they care.

One commenter on HR 347, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund said, “[HR 347] has been described as a death knell for the First Amendment, but that isn’t supported by the facts,…This has always been a bad law.” She tries to lay to rest the claims that the Constitution will be crippled by the Trespass Bill, but acknowledges that it does indeed allow law enforcement to have added incentive to arrest protesters who could be causing a disturbance.

The problem is that when a person says, “It won’t hurt the Constitution or violate your rights,” and then there is a “BUT,” you know it is doing exactly what they just said it wouldn’t do. It is an unnecessary law. Verheyden-Hilliard says it is to make prosecution easier by removing the word “willingly” from the previous law and simply going with knowingly. See? It’s all about keeping things in the favor of government.

Bottom line, while the law is not “new” it does give more authority to authorities. In fact, under the act, protesting in areas covered by Secret Service could land a demonstrator behind bars. The thing is since it’s “secret service” one doesn’t always know where they are or what area is theirs. Thus the dilemma for a law abiding citizen simply wanting to peacefully protest their government, which technically was what the First Amendment was about in the first place: political speech.

But don’t worry, this is the least of concerns as the President can now arrest you if you get to close to his front yard, have you assassinated on American soil if they deem you a threat or indefinitely detain you if the government says you are a terrorist. After all we can trust government can’t we?

In case you want to contact those who voted for the bill, you can find your representative from the House here and the Senate here.

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