Supreme Court Briefs - Civil Liberties, Cases and the First Amendment of the USA

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Supreme Court Briefs - Civil Liberties The First Amendment gives United States citizens five distinct rights. One of which gives citizens the freedom of assembly. This right gives the individual right to come together and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend the common interest. There has been many Supreme Court cases that have defined this freedom for every citizen and the United States government. Edwards v. State of South Carolina The court case, Edwards v. South Carolina, started oral arguments in December 1962. The case dealt with plaintiffs first amendment right, freedom of assembly. 187 peaceful protesters assembled in front of Zion Baptist Church. The protesters consisted of African American high school and college students who were unhappy with segregation in South Carolina. The demonstrators separated into groups of 15 then marched in single file to South Carolina State House Grounds. There each group would protest the segregation policies the state held. The march was peace full, it slowed traffic but did not stop it, and was conducted in an orderly fashion on public grounds. 2 to 3 hundred viewers gathered to watch the protestors creating group as large as 500. A group of police officers confronted the protestors telling them to disperse or they would be arrested; the protesters then started to sing like and religious songs.The police feared that the peaceful protest would spark violence in the crowd of viewers. After fifteen minutes the protestors had not dispersed, all 187 were arrested and taken to jail. All of which were convicted of breach of the peace. The protestors felt that there first amendment freedom of assembly had been breached. The state of South Caro... ... middle of paper ... of assembly had be abridged by the city’s 1930 ordnance. Justice Roberts delivered the majority opinion. Claiming the First Amendment protected the citizens right to use public areas such as streets and public parks to peacefully assemble for a common cause. He also felt the First Amendment freedoms are then protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause making the city’s ordnance unconstitutional. The decanting opinion was written and deliver by Justice McReynolds. In it he expressed his views that the city had full right to control its own property and the federal government should not have the power to play a controlling factor in how the local level does so. Also there plenty of opportunity to present their claims to lower level courts. Justice Frankfurter and Justice Douglas took no part in the courts decision.

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