Protest is a Constitutional Right, But the Supreme Court Essentially Just Banned It in Three States

  • von: Care2 Team
  • empfänger: Governors of All 50 States and Mayor of Washington D.C.
The very first amendment in the United States Constitution's Bill of Rights is the right to protest. Protest is vital to a healthy democracy -- people need to be able to speak up if we disagree with something and let members of our government know how we feel without fear of retribution!

But in April 2024, the US Supreme Court refused to hear a certain case and therefore left a precedent in place that makes it unsafe "to organize a protest in Louisiana, Mississippi, or Texas."

Sign the petition demanding all US governors immediately sign executive orders protecting the right to protest!

The case in question is called Mckesson v. Doe, and it deals with an incident that happened in Louisiana in 2016. Alton Sterling had just been fatally shot by police, and DeRay McKesson organized a peaceful protest in his honor. At some point, an unknown person threw a rock and severely injured a police officer.

Even though he had nothing to do with the act of violence that occurred -- it has been agreed upon that McKesson did not throw the rock -- McKesson was held liable by a lower court for the injuries to the officer. And by refusing to hear the case, the Supreme Court basically just said that was the right call.

This sets an incredibly dangerous standard. If a protest organizer is held legally responsible for the actions of every single individual present, it puts them at a completely unfair level of risk few can afford to take. Plus, it means that bad actors or counter organizers can simply show up to a protest they disagree with, cause harm, and get the organizers in deep legal trouble.

For centuries, protest has been a protected right that has allowed us to move forward as a country -- from the women's suffrage movement, to the civil rights movement, to protests on colleges campuses opposing the US government's involvement in violent conflicts like the Vietnam War or South African apartheid. Peaceful protest makes change happen. We see it even now, as students desperate to make change again gather to demand an end to the violence and suffering in Gaza.

We are not a democracy without the protected right to protest. And while we cannot sway the Supreme Court's decisions about a case, we can ask state governors to step up and fill in the dangerous gaps left in the court's wake. If every state governor issued an executive order declaring that protest organizers are not automatically responsible for the actions of all protestors, that would cast a level of protection over our rights that we need right now.

Sign the petition demanding that individual states protect our first amendment right to protest!
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