The Fourth Circuit is the first federal appellate court to find parts of the law unconstitutionally overbroad under the First Amendment. The ruling could impact Attorney General William P. Barr’s plan to use the law to prosecute individuals accused of inciting riots during the demonstrations following the police killing of George Floyd.
The district judge rejected the notion that journalists had no legal right to remain in an area where officers had issued an order to disperse. "Without journalists and legal observers, there is only the government’s side of the story to explain why a ‘riot’ was declared and the public streets were ‘closed’ and whether law enforcement acted properly in effectuating that order,” the judge wrote.
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.