Dissent and Free Speech: 1st Amendment Violations?

Free speech is a widely known part of the First Amendment and it is portrayed throughout society. One can express free speech through their choice of clothing, actions, and voice. A few popular areas where people most commonly use their voices are at rallies and protests. Rallies and protests are two places where people express their right to speak their mind and do their part to stand up for what they believe in. However, protesters get shut down and people/groups get ejected from rallies all the time for unknown reasons. Is it protected under the First Amendment for public areas to not allow certain events or kick people out of events due to controversial issues/beliefs? Gary Weber, an Atlanta attorney states,If the ejection is done by government officials or police officers acting on the request of [campaign] organizers and they’re doing it because of [the protesters] views, that presents a First Amendment problem. If it’s because of their conduct, then they can be ejected.” Like almost everything, free speech has its limits and a line needs to be drawn where people need to shut up, but there are cases where a citizen is in the wrong and their ejection is justified. But then again, there are instances where people get ejected for no reason.

Throughout this past year, politics has taken over the image of the United States; specifically, one major face—Donald Trump. Protests and rallies for and against Mr. Trump are happening every day and the news is constantly buzzing with updates on all the drama. Under the First Amendment, citizens have the right to protest and speak out against what they feel is right or wrong, and both sides have exclaimed that they feel their First Amendment rights are being violated at these events.

On February 29, 2016, several african american students from Valdosta State University attended a Trump rally, that was taking place on their campus, wearing black T-shirts. While they were quietly waiting for the rally to begin, students say police officers approached the group and asked them to leave. The students claimed to not be protesters and that they were not there to start anything. When asked about a reason, the Chief Officer told the media that the students were escorted out because they were using profound language. When asked about who made the request, he added that they were asked by the Trump staff to remove the students. The Trump Campaign denies knowing anything about the situation; in other words, no one really why this happened. However, the interesting thought is as the students were being escorted out, “Trump supporters began chanting “Trump! Trump! Trump!” and throwing racial slurs their way. She and her schoolmates recall hearing “n—–” and “go home” and “get out of here” while they were heading toward the door.” My question is, why didn’t the Trump supporters who were throwing racial slurs at the students get kicked out? Were they not using profound language as well?

All in all, the First Amendment protects a citizen’s right to voice his or her opinions. It is not viable under the First Amendment to have anyone escorted out of a public event due to their personal beliefs. Unless a person is harming another individual or purposely throwing out insults in hate speech, public venues should be open to anyone and everyone, no matter what their beliefs are.

“Trump Protesters And A Test Of The First Amendment”. ajc. N. p., 2017. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.

http://www.ajc.com/news/local/removing-protesters-from-trump-rallies-1st-amendment-violation/LTsFGvihDD1I5r22axXjQN/

 

“Black Students Ejected From Trump Rally”. Time.com. N. p., 2017. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.   http://time.com/4243773/donald-trump-protesters-val

dosta-state-university/

 

Burleigh, Nina. “The Battle Against ‘Hate Speech’ on College Campuses..” Newsweek, Jun 2016 SIRS Issues Researcher.

http://sks.sirs.com/webapp/article?artno=0000385104&type=ART#cite

 

Lieberman, Michael, and Jesse Larner. “Hate Crime Laws: Punishment to Fit the Crime.” Dissent Vol.57, No.3 2010, pp. 81+. SIRS Issues Researcher.

http://sks.sirs.com/webapp/article?artno=0000306118&type=ART

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