Civil Rights Litigation Lawyer Washington DC
The courts have long recognized that even though certain rights have been extended to American citizens by the Constitution that these rights are not necessarily limitless. For example, the First Amendment of the Constitution reads that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” As a result of this text, the freedom to practice one’s religion is extended to all. However, this law doesn’t protect the right of an individual to hold a religious service on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, the floor of the U.S. Senate, or in a Walmart. There are limits placed on the freedom to practice one’s religion whenever the courts assert their authority to clarify the meaning of Constitutional freedom.
So it is with the First Amendment’s guarantee of “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The right to peacefully protest is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. However, federal, state, and local authorities tend to place limitations on this right. Some of these limitations are legal and some are not. This area of law has been evolving since the Republic was founded and every case is different. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to speak with a civil rights litigation attorney if you believe that your right to protest peacefully has been infringed upon. Although this right is justifiably limited under certain circumstances, it is also possible for those in positions of authority to unlawfully compromise your exercise of that right. Speaking with an attorney can help to clarify whether you may have cause to take legal action at this time.
Individual and Group Protest Rights
Individuals and groups have the greatest legal protections to protest when they do so in “traditional public forums.” Meaning, you are less subject to legal restrictions in your peaceful protest efforts when you demonstrate on the street, on a sidewalk, in front of a government building, or in a park than you do if you’re standing on private property. Generally, private property owners can restrict your right to demonstrate and your right to record what you see and hear when demonstrating. By contrast, you generally have the right to tape or otherwise record what you see and hear when demonstrating on public property. When authority figures attempt to shut down, interfere with, or otherwise compromise the integrity of peaceful protest on public property, they must meet certain legal standards first. If they don’t, they may be held accountable under the law.
Legal Assistance Is Available
If you are concerned that your right to protest peacefully has been infringed upon, consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced civil rights litigation lawyer today. Meeting with an attorney in a confidential setting will allow you to explain your situation, have your questions answered, and be advised of your rights and legal options. The freedom to protest peacefully is generally respected under the law, though certainly not always respected in practice. Please reach out to an attorney today if you have questions or concerns about your rights as a peaceful protester.