Rights of petition and assembly and their interpretation by the United States judiciary

Arthur Marchand


Originally, I had planned to trace the historical roots of both the right of petition and the right of assembly before attempting to determine their status according to United States Supreme Court decisions. In the early stages of research, however, it became aparent that while the roots of petition traced far back into early English history, recent Court decisions concerning the right are virtually nonexistent. Conversely, I found that Supreme Court decisions relating to assembly were numerous but that relevant background material was not available. Consequently, I have centered my study of historical origins on the right of petition and my consideration of Supreme Court decisions on the right of assembly. I have not referred, when possible, to Court decisions after 1939. I felt that after 1939, natural progress in Court attitude was necessarily arrested because of conditions brought on by World War II.