Freedom of Assembly

Continuing the discussion from First Amendment, Neutrality, Atheism, and Evolution:

Many people talk a great deal bout the First Amendment, meaning freedom of speech and freedom of religion (and from religion). Do not also forget the Freedom of Assembly, which is part of what guarantees the first two. Have you thought of this much?

The linked article is to my colleague at WUSTL, John Inazu, a Law Professor here who has been recently reinvigorating this idea. He makes an excellent point. Freedom of association (or assembly) is a necessary precondition for freedom of speech and religion.

Yes freedom of assembly is also part of the First Amendment which is what we are all doing here (peaceably assembling) to exercise our individual freedom of speech about our freedom of religion while our governments remains neutral.

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.

@Patrick and @swamidass

Iā€™m relieved to know that the professor is no dang Congressman!


I was curious to see if John Inazu addresses the power given to Congress to quell insurrections, and that indeed appears to be a large part of the article (after a very brief skim and some word searches).

My nephew recently enlisted in the US Marine Corps and I was there for his swearing in. Part of that oath is to defend against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. This all goes back to the idea of putting down insurrection within your own country. I have always known that is part of the oath, but hearing it makes you think about it a bit more.

I get the feeling that the framers intentionally created these two opposing forces, the freedom to assemble on one hand and the power to fight against insurrection on the other. They intended each generation to apply these two principles on their own and figure it out.