Exam 2 – Essay Example
Airports, Public Gatherings and Presidential candi George Washington The supporters of unsuccessful Presidential candi George Washington wishto hold a welcome-home gathering involving about 500 enthusiastic supporters, and a 15-minute speech to the crowd from Washington at Mt. Vernon International Airport in East Virginia. The airport controller has denied the test citing a regulation forbidding any gathering of more than 200 people in the common areas. Washingtons supporters want to file a lawsuit to obtain access to the Airport gate to hold their welcome-home gathering.
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution, a portion of the Bill of Rights states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” In this instance the airport controller has chosen to address other issues, namely public safety, over and above the right to assembly. His position is that to avoid congestion and promote the smooth operation of the Airport this right must be abridged in this specific instance.
Therefore, Washingtons supporters must argue that their gathering will not cause undue congestion, impair the operation of the airport or pose a threat to public safety. They must argue that their exercise of their right to freedom of assembly will not pose an unreasonable risk.
There are numerous points of detail that strengthen their presentation of this position. The airport has four concourses and many gates and their gathering would only disrupt service at one gate and on one concourse. They are not proposing to close the airport entirely. Moreover, their gathering is only slated to last fifteen minutes: So their request amounts to a request to impair access and possibly increase congestion at only one of many gates and only for fifteen minutes. This is only a minor inconvenience to the airport and not a threat to public safety. Further, they could argue that this minor disruption is of little import when it is balanced against eight years of campaigning and the importance to democracy of a presidential campaign.
The airport controller has the right to prohibit assemblies that would impair the airports safe and efficacious operation. However, in this instance it is unlikely that the courts would uphold his right to ban this particular gathering in light of its minor impact on airport operations and its connection to a presidential campaign, a cornerstone of American democracy.