Tuesday, December 10, 2019
US flag

Republicans challenge the right to protest in Ariz.

Widespread protests have been occurring in many locations in America around the election and inauguration of President Donald Trump, and Republicans in Arizona want to do something to curb the violence that often arises at those protests.


Lower Antelope Canyon near Page, Ariz. (iStock)

In hopes of stopping protests from becoming violent and destroying property, such as smashing windows or lighting cars on fire, Republicans in Arizona’s state senate passed a bill that will allow law enforcement to seize the property of any individual associated with a protest at which property was damaged or any kind of violence occurred, the Arizona Republic reports.

The bill reminds me very much of the Acts of Attainder, instituted under King Henry VIII in England, used in the 18th century but abolished completely by 1870. The US never had such legislation on the books.

Henry used the laws, the idea for which was developed in the Middle Ages, in order to sentence people to death without a trial, mainly because he probably didn’t want some of the scandalous information the accused criminals knew about him coming out as they tried to defend themselves in court. Our Constitution was built on principles that directly opposed this type of abuse of power.

In an op-ed for the Arizona Capitol Times, writer Howard Fischer quotes state Senator Steve Farley, a Democrat who voted against the bill, as did all the outnumbered Democrats in the state senate, as proposing an example of what this bill could mean if it becomes law and passes any legal challenges:

A “Tea Party” group wanting to protest a property tax hike might get permits, publicize the event and have a peaceful demonstration. And one person, possibly from the other side, starts breaking the windows of a car. And all of a sudden the organizers of that march, the local Tea Party, are going to be under indictment from the county attorney in the county that raised those property taxes. That will have a chilling effect on anybody, right or left, who wants to protest something the government has done.

A sense of history dictates that bills like the one now in the Arizona House be opposed. Nobody condones the violence, but seizing people’s property without due process violates their rights and is likely to be harnessed by people who are on the other side of the protester’s debate in order to squelch the voices of protest.

Furthermore, this is kind of like punishing the entire class because one student misbehaves, instead of just the one bad student, as if everyone in the class was responsible for that one student’s bad behavior. Even 8-year-olds know this type of punishment is unfair, but apparently, the Republican senators in Arizona missed that lesson in kindergarten.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Girls’ volleyball champs in Illinois

We congratulate the Illinois state champions in girls' volleyball: Newark, St Teresa, Sterling, & Benet Academy.

A weekend of ‘band geeks’ across America

The musical Band Geeks was in performance at a MD high school, just as marching bands from across America named a national champion.

2 dead, 3 wounded in Calif. school shooting

Another school shooting has resulted in the death of 2 California high school students. The suspect shot himself and is in custody.

Mercury makes a transit; next in 2032

A transit of Mercury occurred today and was visible from the US, provided you had sunny skies. It was one of longest possible transits.

On the Naperville BWW racist incident

A racist incident at a Naperville, IL, sports bar indicates that the threads of racism are strong, perhaps as strong as ever.

IL bill could excuse absences to vote

A proposed law in IL could give students up to two hours during the school day so they could vote in the upcoming election.

Loan forgiveness gains some bipartisan support

One Republican from GA, who used to work under Betsy DeVos at the US Education Dept, offers a plan to forgive some student loan debt.

A band teacher is IL Teacher of the Year

IL named a band teacher the 2020 Teacher of the Year on Oct. 19. He individualizes music instruction and shares his work with 1000s.

‘Little Shop of Horrors’ bookends Halloween

Several high schools have decided to add a little spook to their musical stages in this season of Halloween. Music makes it happen.

New IL law ensures inclusion of LGBTQ+

A law will take effect next school year in IL that will require students to study LGBTQ history as part of the social studies curriculum.

MoCo doubles down on summer learning loss

Research is at least equivocal about summer learning loss, but maybe there's something to a new plan in Montgomery County, Md.