Our rights are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. But words alone don’t defend those rights; people do.
Every day our First Amendment rights to speak out and to petition are put to the test.
A little over a week ago, Dave Roland, the Director of Litigation for the Freedom Center of Missouri, got a phone call at 1:00 am. Two volunteers circulating a petition on a public street in St. Charles had been detained by police, cited for “soliciting without a permit.” The ballot measure they were petitioning for was to legalize marijuana — and tax and regulate it like alcohol and tobacco. Some of their petitions were confiscated.
Roland and his wife Jenifer Ziegler Roland, the center’s executive director, went to bat for these two citizens and their constitutional rights, contacting St. Charles City Attorney Mike Valenti.
Faced with the prospect of a lawsuit, Valenti quickly dismissed the charge against the two petitioners.
“Police officers should know that this right may be freely exercised on public sidewalks,” said Mrs. Roland, “but if the police make a mistake, municipal attorneys ought to follow Mr. Valenti’s lead and correct the constitutional violation as quickly as possible.”
When a woman outside Philadelphia’s Constitutional Convention asked Ben Franklin what kind of government had been created, Franklin famously replied, “A Republic, madam, if we can keep it.”
We can keep it. Thanks to people such as the Rolands at Missouri’s Freedom Center.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.