Freedom of Assembly Challenged at City Hall

There are ordinances on the books all across “the land of the free” which can be used to selectively exclude acts of protest against the exploits of Wall Street and the monetary control it exerts over our government.

Part II ,Chapter 6 ,Article I,Section 6-4 of the Wilmington, N.C. Code of Ordinances states:

“It shall be unlawful for any person to hold or participate in any public meeting upon any of the streets, sidewalks or other public places of the city, without having first obtained a proper permit in writing so to do from the city manager. Such permits may be issued when consistent with the general welfare and if issued may be revoked at any time at the discretion of the council.”

The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Originally, the First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by the Congress. However, starting with Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925), the Supreme Court has held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies the First Amendment to each state, including any local government.

This ordinance seems to conflict with the rights granted to us under the first amendment. Seeing as the city of Wilmington, and the Thalian society both recognise Thalian Hall as a public place (according to both of their web pages), the city manager can not deny issuance of a permit without violating our constitutional rights. Nor can he revoke said permit. I propose that we petition this ordinance as being unconstitutional, and bring this issue to a vote before the Wilmington City Council.

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'Freedom of Assembly Challenged at City Hall'

  1.' Steve says:

    Thanks to Board of Regents v. Roth (408 U.S. 564, 69 1972), we know that a due process claim is cognizable only if there’s a recognized property or liberty interest at stake in the context of the 14th Amendment, which of course prohibits the deprivation of property or liberty without due process of law.

    I’m not certain, but it seems to me that a request by the city of Wilmington or Thalian Hall which is in effect nothing more than a request for you to “Please move to the sidewalk”, or “Get off our lawn”, or “Stand over there instead” is not a violation of your rights as Americans who can’t stand America.

    Don’t move your protest a few feet or a few blocks – sue somebody! No wonder trial lawyers (God bless John Edwards, your patron saint) give almost all of their money to Democrats in every election cycle.

    •' keenen says:

      Yeah. Let’s turn to lawyers and spend money that we don’t have on sueing somebody. That means that occupy would need to take out a loan from the very banks that have failed us. Just as long as we don’t have to witness the protests that result from a failed neoliberal economic theory. There’s no poverty in America. No sir.

  2.' Ron says:

    If the city has a problem with public/nonprofit or non-Thalian use of city property adjacent to the theatre section of the building then our issue is with the city, not Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts,Inc. We should respect the Center’s interest in its realm and seek clarification from the city asap

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