Success Of Anti-Trump Protests Is Leading To New Anti-Protest Laws

Darien Cavanaugh

The frequency and success of anti-Trump protests, as well as other protests, since Donald Trump was inaugurated last month is leading to a slew of new anti-protest legislation, according to an attorney and a research fellow who works for the American Civil Liberties Union.

"Over the past year, a historic level of activism and protest has spilled out into our nation's parks, streets, and sidewalks — places where our First Amendment rights are at their height," Lee Rowland and Vera Eidelman wrote in an article published by Common Dreams. "The January 21 Women's March, anchored in D.C. with echoes across the nation, was likely the single largest day of protest in American history. And yet, legislators in many states have followed up on this exuberant activism with proposed bills that are not only far less inspiring, but also unconstitutional."

— Common Dreams (@commondreams) February 18, 2017

For instance, they note that it was already illegal in every jurisdiction in the United States to willfully obstruct pedestrian or vehicular traffic or to trespass on private property. The new laws to not provide new protections; they just more severely punish those who violate them. For this reason, Rowland and Eidelman argue that the sole purpose of such bills is "chilling protest."

Rowland and Eidelman also highlight the fact that bills favoring motorists over protestors present a peculiar legal and Constitutional quandary because driving is not considered a legal right. It is a privilege granted at the discretion of local and state authorities. Protesting, however, is a right guaranteed by the Constitution.

In an ironic turn, protests against these bills have already caused some of them to die in committee before they could be passed.

— ndnviewpoint (@mahtowin1) February 14, 2017

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