Tag Archives: 1st Amendment Right to Assemble

Part 3: Reality Check

In Part 1 of this series,

Morgan, Where Did the Love Go?

you read about how it was that the SWVA Tea Party Patriots ended up back on the street again, waving protest signs in front of Morgan Griffith’s offices.

This analogy sums it up nicely:
If every penny represents $1 billion, our national debt plus current deficit equals 15,800 pennies. The GOP has removed 10 pennies so far. That’s it. And the Democrats wanted to remove about 4 and 1/2 pennies for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends in October.

And then, there is this:

Every single US man, woman, and child owes almost $200,000 to pay for the deficit + debt + unfunded liabilities.

Then we can throw this log on the fire, from Congressman Steve King, on the one year anniversary of ObamaCare’s passage:

With so many Americans wanting ObamaCare repealed, the time to force the issue is now. In order to ensure that ObamaCare gets pulled out of the U.S.Code by its roots, my strategy encompasses both repealing and defunding the law.
I offered an amendment designed to reach back into ObamaCare itself and block the $105.5 billion in automatic funding that the Pelosi-Reid-Obama troika quietly included in the law. It makes no sense to allow any federal funds to flow to a law that has been declared unconstitutional. Although my amendment was blocked from an up-or-down vote on procedural grounds, I am continuing to work to get it included in future continuing resolutions. In fact, I have voted against two recent short-term continuing-resolution extensions that failed to include language blocking ObamaCare’s automatic funding.
Hold Obama accountable.

It doesn’t make sense to us, either. Griffith’s vote in favor of the Continuing Resolution that did not include any language to block the built-in $105 Billion for ObamaCare, dismissing the act as “breaking the rules” left us cold. As does failing to take a firm, line-drawn-in-the-sand stand against raising the debt ceiling, the only other foreseeable means to stop ObamaCare along with the rest of the insanity.

We have been left to wonder what inherent meaning there is to the pledge he signed with SWVA Tea Party. Not to mention the hand shake that followed.

This past week was the congressional spring break. Morgan Griffith held no Town Halls in his home district. There was no information on his schedule of events available from either his website or any of his offices. Despite his comment to FOX Radio Roanoke 910 news, his desire to speak to the Tea Party failed to translate to contacting any of the SWVA Tea Party groups to arrange a meeting.

But perhaps most disturbing is the follow-up of the

mysterious Christiansburg “office policy”

that dispersed last weeks protesters when met by the Chief of Police at Morgan Griffith’s West Main Street office. Upon being informed by the Chief that they would need a permit, some of the group departed, one member left to get the paperwork and a few folks stayed on, citing their Constitutional right to peaceably assemble. (In Part 2, you read about how we take our rights, guaranteed by both the Virginia and US Constitutions, very seriously.)

This is the information on the back of the form that was filed:

Application for Permit to Conduct a Picket from Town of Christiansburg: (identified on the front of the form as Picket Form 10/05/2000)
§ 40.1-53. Preventing persons from pursuing lawful vocations, etc.; illegal picketing; injunction.

 
No person shall singly or in concert with others interfere or attempt to interfere with another in the exercise of his right to work or to enter upon the performance of any lawful vocation by the use of force, threats of violence or intimidation, or by the use of insulting or threatening language directed toward such person, to induce or attempt to induce him to quit his employment or refrain from seeking employment.

No person shall engage in picketing by force or violence, or picket alone or in concert with others in such manner as to obstruct or interfere with free ingress or egress to and from any premises, or obstruct or interfere with free use of public streets, sidewalks or other public ways.

Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and punished accordingly.
Notwithstanding the punishments herein provided any court of general equity jurisdiction may enjoin picketing prohibited by this section, and in addition thereto, may enjoin any picketing or interference with lawful picketing when necessary to prevent disorder, restrain coercion, protect life or property, or promote the general welfare.
_____________________________________________________________________________________

Obviously, this permit references Virginia’s “right to work” laws, and mentions nothing regarding a political protest or rally.

But the mystery continues….

One of the members of the New River Valley Tea Party, not really satisfied with all the conflicting information disseminated by Griffith’s Chief of Staff, district office and Bristol Herald Courier newspaper account decided to stop back into the Christiansburg Business License office where the March 16th permit is filed. When he requested a new “Application for Permit to Picket” form, HE WAS INFORMED THAT NO PERMIT IS NECESSARY BECAUSE THERE IS NO ORDINANCE TO BACK IT UP!

When he asked for a copy of the previous form, the back was blank where § 40.1-53 previously appeared.

Which would only make sense, given that this was all about an office policy that resulted from the Arizona shooting, only it’s not written or recorded anywhere for public reference so they can’t really send you a copy of it. It requires law enforcement to be notified—although Griffith said his office did not call the police—and law enforcement requires obtaining a Permit to Conduct a Picket, only now it doesn’t because there’s not an ordinance to actually back it up.

So are we all clear on this now?