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Assembly and Association

Discover landmark court cases where the right to peaceably assemble and associate was tested. The right to peaceably assemble is essential to the maintenance of a free government. Throughout American history, individuals have gathered to ensure their voice is heard by their government. Learn more by exploring these cases.

De Jonge v. Oregon (1937)

Federal protection of the right of peaceful assembly for lawful discussion was extended to the states. Read More.

NAACP v. Alabama (1958)

An Alabama law requiring associations to disclose their membership lists was struck down. This requirement would suppress legal association among the group’s members. Read More.

Edwards v. South Carolina (1963)

The convictions of students arrested for peaceful demonstrations against segregation were overturned because the state could not “make criminal the peaceful expression of unpopular views.” Read More.

Lloyd Corporation v. Tanner (1972)

Shopping mall owners may prohibit demonstrators from assembling in their private malls since the First Amendment applies to public, not private property. Read More.

Village of Skokie v. National Socialist Party (1978)

The National Socialist (Nazi) Party could not be prohibited from marching peacefully because of the content of their message. Read More.

Rotary International v. Rotary Club of Duarte (1987)

California state law requiring Rotary Clubs to admit women was constitutional. Because women members would not prevent the group from accomplishing its goals, the Court held that the state’s compelling interest in ending sexual discrimination outweighed the infringement on the group’s right of association. Read More.

Madsen v. Women’s Health Clinic (1994)

Some restrictions on protesters at a Florida abortion clinic, including limits on noise amplification and a required buffer zone, did not violate the First Amendment. The restrictions that “burden[ed] no more speech than necessary” to protect access to the clinic and ensure orderly traffic flow on the street were upheld. The restrictions that burdened “more speech than necessary” and were struck down. Read More.

Hurley v. Irish American GLIB Association (1995)

Forcing a privately-organized parade to include homosexual and bisexual groups would be a form of coerced speech and violated the organizers’ First Amendment rights. Read More.

Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York (1997)

“Fixed buffers” around abortion clinics were constitutional since they protected the government’s interest in protecting private property and preventing illegal activity. A 15-foot “floating buffer” around patients leaving or entering an abortion clinic was struck down as an infringement of the protestors’ First Amendment rights. Read More.

Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000)

Forcing the Boy Scouts to admit a gay scout leader would violate the private organization’s rights to freedom of association and expressive association. Read More.

Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (2010)

The court ruled that a student organization at a public university was not free to limit their members to those who shared their belief system if that resulted in discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Read More.

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