After a brief weather-related delay, the 2012 Republic National Convention is finally getting underway. Although crowds of protestors are smaller than initially expected, as we recently pointed out, in past years, political conventions have sometimes become “constitutional black holes” that stifle free speech and other First Amendment protected activity.
It’s important to note that while the First Amendment protects our rights to free speech and assembly, police and government officials are allowed to place certain nondiscriminatory and narrowly drawn "time, place and manner" restrictions on the exercise of First Amendment rights. Any such restrictions must apply to all speech regardless of its point of view, but this does mean that how these rights manifest themselves do vary from state to state and city to city.
That is why the ACLU of Florida has put together a series of RNC related resources, which can be found on their website at www.acluFL.org/RNC. Some of these resources include:
Representatives from the ACLU of Florida are live on the ground at the RNC, and will be tweeting updates from @ACLUFL. You can contact the ACLU if you’re interested in volunteering at the RNC, or if you need help because you believe your rights have been violated.
We hope you’ll join us in calling on the Mayors of Tampa, Florida (as well as Charlotte, North Carolina – where the upcoming Democratic National Convention will be held) to actively protect and defend free speech at the conventions.
Stay tuned for updates from the RNC, and information about your rights at the DNC!