'Sort of hilariously unconstitutional': Arrested protesters told they can no longer attend protests

I’ve spent most of the afternoon watching clips of the U.S. attorney general flouting standards of fairness and the rule of law, so this was a real pick-me-up.

It seems some detained Portland protesters are being told, as a condition of their release, that they can no longer attend protests in the state of Oregon. (I assume they could attend an anti-mask protest in Michigan while toting guns, threatening the governor, and horking freedom phlegm all over law enforcement personnel, because the federal government doesn’t care about those kinds of lawbreakers.)


Federal authorities are using a new tactic in their battle against protesters in Portland, Oregon: arrest them on offenses as minor as “failing to obey” an order to get off a sidewalk on federal property — and then tell them they can’t protest anymore as a condition for release from jail.

Legal experts describe the move as a blatant violation of the constitutional right to free assembly, but at least 12 protesters arrested in recent weeks have been specifically barred from attending protests or demonstrations as they await trials on federal misdemeanor charges.

“Defendant may not attend any other protests, rallies, assemblies or public gathering in the state of Oregon,” states one “Order Setting Conditions of Release” for an accused protester, alongside other conditions such as appearing for court dates. The orders are signed by federal magistrate judges.



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Yeah, that doesn’t sound very, erm, American, does it?

“Those terms were given to me after being in a holding cell after 14 hours,” Bailey Dreibelbis, who was charged July 24 with “failing to obey a lawful order,” told ProPublica. “It was pretty cut-and-dried, just, ‘These are your conditions for [getting out] of here.’

“If I didn’t take it, I would still be in holding. It wasn’t really an option, in my eyes.”

We’re now living in a country where the federal government is deciding some kinds of protests are okay and others are a clear and present danger. Guess which of these protests feature angry men wielding assault rifles.

Meanwhile, the constitutionality of these release conditions is, shall we say, questionable.

The ACLU’s Somil Trivedi said, “Release conditions should be related to public safety or flight” — in other words, the risk that the defendant will abscond. “This is neither.” He described the handwritten addition of a protest ban to a release document as “sort of hilariously unconstitutional.”

Would it be too melodramatic to say that four more years of Donald Trump would mutate this country into something else entirely? And I don’t mean in a good way, like with Wolverine. I’m talking full-on Magneto here.

Joe has to win, and we have to help him.

Pitch in however you can.

“This guy is a natural. Sometimes I laugh so hard I cry.” — Bette Midler on Aldous J. Pennyfarthing, via Twitter. Find out what made dear Bette break up. Dear Fcking Lunatic: 101 Obscenely Rude Letters to Donald Trump and its boffo sequels Dear Prsident A**clown: 101 More Rude Letters to Donald Trump and Dear F*cking Moron: 101 More Letters to Donald Trump by Aldous J. Pennyfarthing are now available for a song! Click those links, yo!

  • July 28, 2020
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