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Phone: 215-238-6300 •

July 24, 2020

Statement on the Right to Peaceably Assemble

Chancellor Snyder released the following statement today on the right to peaceably assemble:

“The Constitution of the United States contains two significant provisions: the Oath of Office taken by the President in which the President swears to support, obey, and defend the Constitution; and the right of freedom of speech and assembly, including the right to assemble to address grievances.

“Despite these very clear statements, one a Constitutional protection and the other the very oath of Office taken by a President of the United States before he or she can take an action as President, last week the President ordered federal police to Portland, Oregon, arriving with no prior notice to the Governor of Oregon or the Mayor of Portland. The troops arrived under cover of darkness, wearing no specific identifications on their camouflage attire, and operating unmarked vehicles. Once in Portland, these troops proceeded to swoop people up off of the streets, gassing some of them, shooting rubber bullets at some of them, beating some of them, and throwing them into unmarked vehicles for transportation and detention in the Federal Courthouse. No arrest warrants were issued, and those apprehended were not provided any reason for their detention.

“The grossly unlawful nature of this conduct, together with the threat by the President to deploy similar federal troops to other cities including Philadelphia is intolerable to the Philadelphia Bar Association.

“As an association of lawyers and judges, we are committed to defending the Rule of Law, and have been so committed since 1802, when this Association was created. The actions described fly squarely in the face of the protections afforded to all of us by the Constitution.

“The recent actions taken in Portland would appear to convince us of the fallacy of our belief in the protections of the Constitution.

“Therefore, we, the Philadelphia Bar Association, call upon those in power to remove these troops from Portland, to forswear from deploying such troops elsewhere, and to return the powers of local law enforcement to local authorities. We call upon those in power to return to a commitment to defending the Rule of Law.”

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