For more than a decade now, Americans have repeatedly encountered illegal and unnecessary spying by local, state, and federal law enforcement on lawful and peaceful protesters. Targets of such surveillance have been on both the left and right and include anti-war, anti-death penalty, anti-abortion, and animal rights activists, along with members of the Occupy movement.

We continue to aggressively combat suspicionless surveillance by authorities at all levels of government. The First Amendment guarantees Americans the essential right to assemble peacefully to advocate for any cause. Too often, law enforcement has sought to break up or jail protesters not for any disruption, but because of advocacy for unpopular causes or peaceful dissent from controversial government policies. 

These rights have become even more essential in light of recent concern over law enforcement’s use of deadly force against unarmed members of minority communities and the recent revelations of mass surveillance of innocent Americans by federal intelligence agencies. We will continue to fight to prevent such spying and to hold government agents accountable when it occurs.

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