In order for federally arrested protesters in Portland to get out of jail, they must agree to stop protesting, which is an unconstitutional condition.
Federal authorities are using a new tactic in their battle against protesters in Portland, Oregon: arrest them on offenses as minor as “failing to obey” an order to get off a sidewalk on federal property — and then tell them they can’t protest anymore as a condition for release from jail.
Legal experts describe the move as a blatant violation of the constitutional right to free assembly, but at least 12 protesters arrested in recent weeks have been specifically barred from attending protests or demonstrations as they await trials on federal misdemeanor charges.
The ACLU’s Somil Trivedi said, “Release conditions should be related to public safety or flight” — in other words, the risk that the defendant will abscond. “This is neither.” He described the handwritten addition of a protest ban to a release document as “sort of hilariously unconstitutional.”
The Trump administration is arguing that arrested protesters do not a First Amendment right to protest against their own government. Banning protesters from protesting as a condition of release from jail is fundamentally unconstitutional.
Actions such as what the DOJ is doing in Portland are why House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler called Attorney General Barr a threat to liberty and the country at a Tuesday hearing.
The federal presence in Portland has nothing to do with law and order. It is all about suppressing dissent and Trump’s dreams of boosting his reelection campaign through illegal actions.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association