The Future of Freedom Foundation
March 16, 2012
The newest attack of vague language is aimed at your 1st Amendment rights of Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Assembly and Freedom to Petition. It is found in the pending legislation of H.R. 347.… As currently worded, it might as well have been called the “Federal We’re Too Important To Be Annoyed By Your Protest Act of 2011.”
The Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011 (PDF) may sound like a landscaping measure, but it is also being called the Trespass Bill, the Anti-Occupy Bill, and the First Amendment Rights Eradication Act. Under this bill, it is a felony to protest at or in the vicinity of a venue or event that is attended by anyone who has Secret Service protection. H.R. 347 passed the House on February 27th by a vote of 388–3. The Senate version (S. 1794) passed unanimously. With President Obama’s signature, the Act became law on March 8.
The bill has caused a furor among advocates of civil liberties. Justin Amash, one of the three “no” votes in the House, dubbed the bill the “First Amendment Rights Eradication Act.” Calling it “this administration’s latest assault on our civil liberties,” he explains on his Facebook page that “criminalizing legitimate First Amendment activity — even if that activity is annoying to those government officials — violates our rights.”