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Democracy’s a Riot

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2 Responses

  1. Orin Kerr says:

    “must individuals choose between facing arrest, or participating in (or reporting on) democratic interaction only from a distance?”

    Doesn’t this depend on what “democratic interaction” means? Walsh was talking about criminal activity, not lawful protests. Are riots and the like “democratic interaction”?

  2. JP says:

    “No doubt, when public encounters are used to disrupt legitimate democratic participation by others, the need for public order prevails.”

    This seems to have been the case in Denver and St. Paul. The conventions were “legitimate democratic participation by others,” and the demonstrations where arrests occurred seem to have been intended to disrupt those (e.g., continuing to protest for hours after their permits expired in order to block roads and bridges allowing delegates and others access to the conventions). Moreover, the distance was intended to prevent not only “verbal tumult,” but physical assault; individuals or groups in the crowd of protesters threw rocks and sprayed bleach at the delegates.

    I still have no idea whether the courts found the correct balance when approving the time/place/manner restrictions on the convention protests, but after your series of posts, I am more confident that the police acted appropriately.