The First Freedoms
The Privacy Amendments
The 5th Amendment
The 6th Amendment
Civil Trials
The Interpretive Rules

Freedom of Petition and Assembly

Incorporation of Assembly and Petition

But Not in All Cases

Like all of the other 1st Amendment rights, the protections for assembly and petition have been incorporated into the 14th Amendment, so they are applicable to states as well as the Federal government. As early as 1939, in Hague v. CIO, the Court struck down an ordinance which granted a city official expansive discretion to permit or deny any group the opportunity to assemble in a public place. Attempts to assemble for political petition or other advocacy have nonetheless often been prohibited through the enforcement of laws upholding societal interests unrelated to the assembly (e.g., sanitation, disturbing the peace, or interrupting traffic). In 1894 a massive assemblage of unemployed workers marched on Washington to present their petitions, but their leaders were arrested for violating the ordinance against walking on the grass of the Capitol. Laws that have the effect of preventing otherwise lawful assembly have generally been upheld so long as they do not discriminate against some groups or favor others.