The protected right of the people peaceably to assemble is something that has fundamental and historical foundations. Our founders established a clear “no trespassing sign” in our first amendment to keep the government away from this fundamental right. “Congress shall make no law abridging…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Legislation in the Congress seems to be treading on the grounds of this constitutionally restricted territory.
HR 347 and S 1794, the ‘‘Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011” has nothing to do with improving landscaping around federal buildings. This bill is being presented as a No Trespassing bill. Reasonable people understand that restrictions and protections are needed for government officials and government functions. However, this legislation makes it a federal crimeto simply DISRUPT the ORDERLY CONDUCT of government. The violator doesn’t have to be on the grounds where the government business is being conducted, just within the vicinity of the self-proclaimed business. The law is not limited to buildings or locations as the title suggests, but seems to be “roving” and follows persons protected by Secret Service wherever they go.
1752(a)(2) knowingly, and with intent 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;
1752(a)(3) knowingly, and with the intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, obstructs or impedes ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds;
1752(c)(1) the term ‘restricted buildings or grounds’ means any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area— (B) of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting; or C) of a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance;
The right protected in the First Amendment is the right to peaceably assemble. We do not have the right to impede the flow of traffic, either on sidewalks or roadways. We do not have the right to impede anyone’s business practices. But this law is not about private business, it is about government operations.
This Congress has a habit of writing in vague and overbroad terms; yet, in order for laws to be Constitutionally sound they CANNOT be vague and overbroad in ANY aspect, and they can ONLY interfere with the rights of the people in as narrow a capacity as necessary. But this law makes it a crime to disrupt the government. The Supreme Court has said this type of broad language gives too much power to the government, and they have been saying this since 1939. This law actually places the desire of the government to be free from disruption over the right of the people to redress the government of their grievances.
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HR 347/S1794: A TRESPASS ON THE FIRST AMENDMENT
March 2, 2012 by