Perhaps it's fitting to celebrate civil disobedience the day before we celebrate our national independence. After all, a group of colonies officially declaring themselves a new nation, free of the empire that founded them, is a pretty epic act of disobedience.
So July 3rd is Disobedience Day, a day to celebrate the refusal to obey certain laws, statutes, or other commands of a government. Of course, there's a fine line between dangerous, illegal disobedience and peaceful, legal protest. Here are a few legal tips on exercising your right to disobey, hopefully without getting into too much trouble:
While America has a rich history of political protest and disobedience, few crystallized a movement as eloquently and effectively as Dr. Martin Luther King. Here are a few lessons from his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.
Know how to plan a legal protest, and plan for your potential arrest, just in case.
Start with state statutes and any local ordinances on public gatherings. And definitely make sure you've obtained any necessary permits. Once you've done that, though, you still face the challenge of making sure everyone abides by those laws and permits.
Even if you're just passing out a little literature, you might need a permit for that. Be especially careful of attaching posters to walls or posts, or putting flyers on parked cars.
Speaking of cars, is blocking them on the road a legal form of protest? From marches that take place on city streets to protestors chaining themselves together to block an interstate highway, traffic-based protests can take a few different forms.
The Supreme Court has said that constitutional rights do not stop at the schoolhouse door. But the Court has also recognized a school's interest in minimizing disruptions. So how do those doctrines intersect when it comes to school protests?
The Supreme Court has also given the Secret Service wide altitude to handling presidential protests, allowing them to block, move, or arrest anti-president protestors based on security concerns, all while leaving pro-president supporters in place.
We've seen quite a few people get fired for expressing their political opinions. But if that opinion includes thoughts about your pay or working conditions, are there laws that protect speech and strikes at work?
There's no shortage of marches these days. But there may be a lack of information about your rights when participating in one. Here's what you need to know.
If those posts didn't already cover your questions about protest, this one should.
And if you're arrested celebrating Disobedience Day, make sure you talk to an experienced civil rights attorney as soon as possible.