An Arizona federal district judge narrowed a poll-watching group’s ability to monitor ballot drop boxes by issuing restrictions on taking photos and videos of early voters and prohibiting the open carry of firearms and wearing tactical gear within 250 feet of a drop box. The temporary restraining order, issued Nov. 1 by U.S. District Judge Michael Liburdi bars affiliates and members of the poll-watching group Clean Elections USA from taking photos and videos of people within 75 feet of a drop box; following, yelling or speaking to people dropping off ballots unless they’re engaged first; and standing within 75 feet of a drop box.
On Oct. 28, U.S. District Judge Michael Liburdi denied a request to block a poll-watching group from surveilling drop boxes citing First Amendment concerns. Three days later, the Department of Justice signaled its disapproval of the judge’s ruling in a statement of interest, stating that "The First Amendment does not protect individuals’ right to assemble to engage in voter intimidation or coercion.”
After the U.S. Park Police (USPP) led law enforcement to forcibly shut down a mostly peaceful protest on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., an hour before a city-wide curfew on June 1st, 2020, the protestors and the press have pushed for answers about who was responsible for the decision. More than a year later, the Department of Interior has published a report with some answers.
Since Florida Governor Ron. DeSantis signed the “Combating Public Disorder” act into law this past April, civil liberties groups across the country have questioned its constitutionality. Now, two separate groups have sought to challenge the law in federal court.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Minnesota, along with law firm Fish & Richardson, has filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of four protesters against the City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Police Chief, the head of the police officer’s union, and others.
“We are today asking the federal court to stop the federal police from secretly stopping and forcibly grabbing Oregonians off our streets,” Oregon Attorney General Ellen F. Rosemblum said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.
On June 4th, Black Lives Matter and four named protestors sued President Donald Trump, Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of Defense Mike Esper, and four other federal officials for the violation of First Amendment rights, Fourth Amendment rights, and for conspiring to violate civil rights.