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Goodbye, First Amendment: ‘Trespass Bill’ will make protest illegal

☥☽✪☾DAW ☽✪☾ 2012/04/17 04:17:01
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Goodbye  First Amendment   u2018Trespass Bill u2019 will make protest illegal
Just when you thought the government couldn’t ruin the First Amendment any further: The House of Representatives approved a bill on Monday that outlaws protests in instances where some government officials are nearby, whether or not you even know it.

The US House of Representatives voted 388-to-3 in favor of H.R. 347 late Monday, a bill which is being dubbed the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011. In the bill, Congress officially makes it illegal to trespass on the grounds of the White House, which, on the surface, seems not just harmless and necessary, but somewhat shocking that such a rule isn’t already on the books. The wording in the bill, however, extends to allow the government to go after much more than tourists that transverse the wrought iron White House fence.
Goodbye  First Amendment   u2018Trespass Bill u2019 will make protest illegal
Under the act, the government is also given the power to bring charges against Americans engaged in political protest anywhere in the country.
Under current law, White House trespassers are prosecuted under a local ordinance, a Washington, DC legislation that can bring misdemeanor charges for anyone trying to get close to the president without authorization. Under H.R. 347, a federal law will formally be applied to such instances, but will also allow the government to bring charges to protesters, demonstrators and activists at political events and other outings across America.
Goodbye  First Amendment   u2018Trespass Bill u2019 will make protest illegal
The new legislation allows prosecutors to charge anyone who enters a building without permission or with the intent to disrupt a government function with a federal offense if Secret Service is on the scene, but the law stretches to include not just the president’s palatial Pennsylvania Avenue home. Under the law, any building or grounds where the president is visiting — even temporarily — is covered, as is any building or grounds “restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance."
Goodbye  First Amendment   u2018Trespass Bill u2019 will make protest illegal
It’s not just the president who would be spared from protesters, either.
Covered under the bill is any person protected by the Secret Service. Although such protection isn’t extended to just everybody, making it a federal offense to even accidently disrupt an event attended by a person with such status essentially crushes whatever currently remains of the right to assemble and peacefully protest.
Hours after the act passed, presidential candidate Rick Santorum was granted Secret Service protection.
Goodbye  First Amendment   u2018Trespass Bill u2019 will make protest illegal
For the American protester, this indeed means that glitter-bombing the former Pennsylvania senator is officially a very big no-no, but it doesn’t stop with just him. Santorum’s coverage under the Secret Service began on Tuesday, but fellow GOP hopeful Mitt Romney has already been receiving such security. A campaign aide who asked not to be identified confirmed last week to CBS News that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has sought Secret Service protection as well. Even former contender Herman Cain received the armed protection treatment when he was still in the running for the Republican Party nod.
Goodbye  First Amendment   u2018Trespass Bill u2019 will make protest illegal
In the text of the act, the law is allowed to be used against anyone who knowingly enters or remains in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so, but those grounds are considered any area where someone — rather it’s President Obama, Senator Santorum or Governor Romney — will be temporarily visiting, whether or not the public is even made aware. Entering such a facility is thus outlawed, as is disrupting the orderly conduct of “official functions,” engaging in disorderly conduct “within such proximity to” the event or acting violent to anyone, anywhere near the premises. Under that verbiage, that means a peaceful protest outside a candidate’s concession speech would be a federal offense, but those occurrences covered as special event of national significance don’t just stop there, either. And neither does the list of covered persons that receive protection.
Goodbye  First Amendment   u2018Trespass Bill u2019 will make protest illegal
Outside of the current presidential race, the Secret Service is responsible for guarding an array of politicians, even those from outside America. George W Bush is granted protection until ten years after his administration ended, or 2019, and every living president before him is eligible for life-time, federally funded coverage. Visiting heads of state are extended an offer too, and the events sanctioned as those of national significance — a decision that is left up to the US Department of Homeland Security — extends to more than the obvious. While presidential inaugurations and meeting of foreign dignitaries are awarded the title, nearly three dozen events in all have been considered a National Special Security Event (NSSE) since the term was created under President Clinton. Among past events on the DHS-sanctioned NSSE list are Super Bowl XXXVI, the funerals of Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, most State of the Union addresses and the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
get back in your free speech zone
With Secret Service protection awarded to visiting dignitaries, this also means, for instance, that the federal government could consider a demonstration against any foreign president on American soil as a violation of federal law, as long as it could be considered disruptive to whatever function is occurring.
When thousands of protesters are expected to descend on Chicago this spring for the 2012 G8 and NATO summits, they will also be approaching the grounds of a National Special Security Event. That means disruptive activity, to whichever court has to consider it, will be a federal offense under the act.
And don’t forget if you intend on fighting such charges, you might not be able to rely on evidence of your own. In the state of Illinois, videotaping the police, under current law, brings criminals charges. Don’t fret. It’s not like the country will really try to enforce it — right?
mace cop meme
On the bright side, does this mean that the law could apply to law enforcement officers reprimanded for using excessive force on protesters at political events? Probably. Of course, some fear that the act is being created just to keep those demonstrations from ever occuring, and given the vague language on par with the loose definition of a “terrorist” under the NDAA, if passed this act is expected to do a lot more harm to the First Amendment than good.
United States Representative Justin Amash (MI-03) was one of only three lawmakers to vote against the act when it appeared in the House late Monday. Explaining his take on the act through his official Facebook account on Tuesday, Rep. Amash writes, “The bill expands current law to make it a crime to enter or remain in an area where an official is visiting even if the person does not know it's illegal to be in that area and has no reason to suspect it's illegal.”
“Some government officials may need extraordinary protection to ensure their safety. But criminalizing legitimate First Amendment activity — even if that activity is annoying to those government officials — violates our rights,” adds the representative.
mace cop meme
Now that the act has overwhelmingly made it through the House, the next set of hands to sift through its pages could very well be President Barack Obama; the US Senate had already passed the bill back on February 6. Less than two months ago, the president approved the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, essentially suspending habeas corpus from American citizens. Could the next order out of the Executive Branch be revoking some of the Bill of Rights? Only if you consider the part about being able to assemble a staple of the First Amendment, really. Don’t worry, though. Obama was, after all, a constitutional law professor. When he signed the NDAA on December 31, he accompanied his signature with a signing statement that let Americans know that, just because he authorized the indefinite detention of Americans didn’t mean he thought it was right.
mace cop meme
Should President Obama suspend the right to assemble, Americans might expect another apology to accompany it in which the commander-in-chief condemns the very act he authorizes. If you disagree with such a decision, however, don’t take it to the White House. Sixteen-hundred Pennsylvania Avenue and the vicinity is, of course, covered under this act.

Read More: http://rt.com/usa/news/348-act-tresspass-buildings...

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Top Opinion

  • \V/ 2012/04/17 04:58:30
    Yes take away our peacful protests-Now we only have violence
    \V/

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  • Uranos7 2012/04/18 19:31:07 (edited)
    havent you got any moral bone in your bodies? You praise yourself for being t...
    Uranos7
    Sounds like Obama and the Democratic congress are tired of those annoying republican tea partiers spreadin truths about thier Messiah Obama.

    What's next Book Burning?

    http://www.sodahead.com/unite...
    Oh wait they did that one already too.

    book burning

    Yes we can, make the first amendment null and void. Apparently!
  • ☥☽✪☾DAW... Uranos7 2012/04/18 19:35:36
    ☥☽✪☾DAW ☽✪☾
    not Even the President can get rid of the first ammendment
    so please enough of this bullcrap
  • Uranos7 ☥☽✪☾DAW... 2012/04/18 19:51:00 (edited)
    Uranos7
    Ok I edited it.
    Your right he cannot repeal it. But it seems he is intent on passing enough legislation to make it null and void. Taking it apart piece by peice.
  • ☥☽✪☾DAW... Uranos7 2012/04/18 19:55:13
    ☥☽✪☾DAW ☽✪☾
    book burning koran
    book burning
    book burning koran book burning nazi book burning nazi book burning  christian
  • Uranos7 ☥☽✪☾DAW... 2012/04/18 20:16:16
    Uranos7
    Yes but those that you posted were by individuals. They do not have the power to see that the books are no longer printed as the government did.
    They were exersizing thier first amendment rights. They were also silly because they had to buy the books in order to burn them, increasing the sales of the books they objected too :}
    The government confiscates the books and burns them so that people cannot hear the truth.
    Obama is the first president in history to order a book burning.
    Obama signed the bill to wich you are referring
    President Obama signed bill H.R. 347 (also known as the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011) into law on March 9th, amid numerous protests from the Occupy movement,
    Obama does not believe in first amendment rights.
  • Little Angel 2012/04/17 19:38:18
    Yes take away our peacful protests-Now we only have violence
    Little Angel
    Whatever happened to freedom of speech???
    freedom of speech
    Uh...I remember, the Government ignores our Constitution!!
    no constitution

    What next? No internet?
    no internet
    And no protesting will bring....
    freedom speech uh remember government ignores constitution internet protesting
  • D.C. Willis 2012/04/17 12:22:42
    Outragious!!!
    D.C. Willis
  • Beat Magnum True Hero 2012/04/17 09:30:46
    Outragious!!!
    Beat Magnum True Hero
    The government never fails to swat at mosquitoes with bazookas. I'm pretty sure that this bill has something to do with a well known LWNJ pulling a gun in Tuscon last year and shooting a congress woman, but to crush everyone's rights to protest makes said LWNJ win.
  • wolfshadow 2012/04/17 07:44:23
  • Arjuna 2012/04/17 06:53:03
    Outragious!!!
    Arjuna
    I live in a country where such draconian laws are the norm. NGOs under the ministry of defense, the right to meet and right to free speech ingrained in the constitution but violated on a daily basis, media muzzling the works ... sad to see America going down the same route.
  • disclaimer 2012/04/17 06:49:54
    American citizens deserve this for their years of apathy and complacency whil...
    disclaimer
    I just picked an outrageous answer because this is a ridiculous question. It's full of logical fallacies and unnecessary blame. Oh, it's all Obama's fault? Well, if the House passed it that means Republicans agree. Obama hasn't even said if he would sign it or not. Please people, try to remain bipartisan when posting on hot-button topics like this.
  • Captain Hindsight 2012/04/17 06:24:06 (edited)
    Outragious!!!
    Captain Hindsight
    How dare they arrest that cute girl!

    arrest cute girl

    Them too ...
    arrest cute girl
  • Roblem BN-0 2012/04/17 05:58:14
    What is the penalty for high treason in the US? Are government officials exem...
    Roblem BN-0
    +1
    This is disgraceful!

    This better not pass the senate!
  • Dagon 2012/04/17 05:27:41
  • sjalan 2012/04/17 05:07:01
    What we have in the USA is perverted justice. The rich get richer and the poo...
    sjalan
    +2
    I think it is time for the People to really let BOTH parties to know they are not going to stand for this kind of BS.
  • \V/ 2012/04/17 04:58:30
  • Pat 2012/04/17 04:57:32
    What is the penalty for high treason in the US? Are government officials exem...
    Pat
    +2
    Ok. Now I'm officially scared. I know the House is dominated by Republicans. Has this passed the Senate as well? I think we need to organize a march on Washington with a couple of hundred thousand protesters and let them try to corral us all. This is no longer a matter of a difference of opinion. It's a matter of taking away basic American rights. What can we do?

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