“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
That would be the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The right of people to peaceably assemble is written into the foundations of our country.
Yet Republican lawmakers want to strip us of that right.
From Oregon to Florida and back again, 18 different states have introduced bills into their respective state governments that would do things such as provide protections for people who hit protesters with their cars and ban the use of masks utilized when protesting.
Minus the fact that our own Constitution says that Congress can’t actually make a law against the right to peaceably assemble, many are going to counter and say that these laws are making sure that the protests remain peaceful and give police broader terms to crack down on rioting-like actions.
To that, I offer this rebuttal: The Code of Federal Regulations is the official document in which our laws and standards as a nation are recorded. In CFR 2.31, it covers trespassing, tampering, and vandalism. It outlines their definitions and states them as prohibited under law.
So, our federal code covers all of the reasons given for passing these state-regulated anti-protest mandates. No need for duplication.
And they can’t argue that state law legally supersedes federal law because of the “supremacy clause” within our Constitution.
What is really happening is this: Republicans are tired of our right to protest because it shows them a constant voice against what they stand for. Our protesting is, for lack of a better phrase, getting on their nerves. But, instead of handling it like adults and understanding that it is our right to protest, they want to pass laws in order to muffle our voices so that they can do their job without our inconvenience, while having no regard for the fact that they are trampling on our basic constitutional rights.
And, unfortunately, this is not the only time it has happened. Representative Bobby Kaufmann (R-Iowa) introduced a bill, quite literally, entitled Suck It Up Buttercup. It was an attempt to curb protesting against Trump’s election that blocked Interstate 80 and brought drivers to a standstill.
He goes on to call protesters brats and accuses them of throwing temper tantrums because they didn’t get what they wanted.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter how you view those protesters. You still cannot legally trample on the constitutional rights of American citizens.
No, really. CFR U.S. Code 241 says that you can’t.