Wednesday, April 18, 2012

#SleepfulProtest v StretchesOfAuthority

How beautiful #SleepfulProtest is! Their trials and tribulations are very familiar, to me: law enforcement stealing their property, intimidating them out of their rights, citing the law to officers while being (falsely) arrested and incarcerated, dealing with hearings, etc. My one regret is that the appeals process is so slow; if only we were done, so any Californian SleepfulProtest could avoid 647(e) and 602 abuses (hopefully, after the UC Davis pepper spray scandal, physical abuses are a reduced risk).

I wonder if they are aware of the 9th Amendment...

The #SleepOnWallSt protest has spent time at a significant Bill Of Rights landmark, an old assertion of rights that inspired debate, way back when...

The next clause of the fourth proposition was taken into consideration, and was as follows: "The freedom of speech and of the press, and the right of the people peaceably to assemble and consult for their common good, and to apply to the Government for redress of grievances, shall not be infringed.

Mr. Sedgwick submitted to those gentlemen who had contemplated the subject, what effect such an amendment as this would have; he feared it would tend to make them appear trifling in the eyes of their constituents; what, said he, shall we secure the freedom of speech, and think it necessary at the same time, to allow the right of assembling? If people freely converse together, they must assemble for that purpose; it is a self-evident, unalienable right which the people possess; it is certainly a thing that never would be called in question; it is derogatory to the dignity of the House to descend to such minutiae; he therefore moved to strike out "assemble and."

Mr. Benson. - The committee who framed this report proceeded on the principle that these rights belonged to the people; they conceived them to be inherent; and all that they meant to provide against was their being infringed by the Government.

Mr. Sedgwick replied, that if the committee were governed by that general principle, they might have gone into a very lengthy enumeration of rights; they might have declared that a man should have a right to wear his hat if he pleased, and to go to bed when he thought proper; but he would ask the gentleman whether he thought it necessary to enter these trifles in a declaration of rights, in a Government where none of them were intended to be infringed.

Mr. Tucker hoped the words would not be struck out, for he considered them of importance; besides, they were recommended by the States of Virginia and North Carolina, though he noticed that the most material part proposed by those States was omitted, which was, a declaration that the people should have a right to instruct their representatives. He would move to have those words inserted as soon as the motion for striking out was decided.

Mr. Gerry was also against the words being struck out, because he conceived it to be an essential right; it was inserted in the constitutions of several States; and though it had been abused in the year 1786 in Massachusetts, yet that abuse ought not to operate as an argument against the use of it. The people ought to be secure in the peaceable enjoyment of this privilege, and that can only be done by making a declaration to that effect in the constitution.

Mr. Page. - The gentleman from Massachusetts, (Mr. Sedgwick.) who made this motion, objects to the clause, because the right is of so trivial a nature. He supposes it no more essential than whether a man has a right to wear his hat or not; but let me observe to him that such rights have been opposed, and a man has been obliged to pull off his hat when he appeared before the face of authority; people have also been prevented from assembling together on their lawful occasions, therefore it is well to guard against such stretches of authority, by inserting the privilege in the declaration of rights. If the people could be deprived of the power of assembling under any pretext whatsoever, they might be deprived of every other privilege contained in the clause.

Theodore Sedgwick in 1789 via the Annals of Congress 759-760


  1. That 7PM to 7AM curfew at the courthouse INFRINGES on my right to peaceably assemble seeking redress of government grievances. Eh?

    Hang in there, Gary. You're right and they're wrong.

  2. I'm not right, I am tired. ;)

  3. Fixed (known) typos in the historical quote, added editorializing markup, wondered when blogging will be more version control centric...