What is the law regarding protesters at political rallies?

In the Elections folder, and in other places around the web, I’m seeing a lot of people claim that protesters at a political rally have every bit as much right to free speech as the person speaking up on stage. I feel pretty sure this is wrong as a legal matter. But IANAL, and trying to determine the answer via Google search seems especially difficult for some reason.

Here is what I assume to be true, but I invite those who have passed the bar to fight my ignorance as needed:

People interested in attending a candidate’s rally get a ticket to a venue the campaign has rented out. It may have something on the back in fine print saying they agree to not be disruptive. Or maybe that’s just implied. In any case, once they start trying to shout down the candidate, they are no longer welcome at this private event, and have become a trespasser and can be arrested and prosecuted as such.

Now, if this were truly the classic “soapbox on a corner” situation, in the “public square”, then sure: I suppose people could go and stand around the soapbox and jeer the speaker so others gathered couldn’t hear. But major political candidates rarely do anything like this. Maybe at a state fair or a parade? Otherwise, they have control over their events, and anyone who becomes unwelcome at any time (unless, presumably, it can be proven to be solely because they belong to a protected class like being a racial minority) can be kicked out and/or arrested for trespassing.

Right? Or not?

Not right.

I got two tickets to the Trump rally at UIC. There was no agreement that I behave myself. I did have to answer whether I was a Democrat or Republican, and I answered honestly Democrat. I vaguely recall it may have asked if I intend to vote for Trump? Maybe? Don’t quote me on that. If it did, I answered honestly, “no”. The tickets were still issued.

The tickets say:

And also “This order is subject to Eventbrite Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy,” but I don’t see anything that applies there.

UIC’s website has a page of “Building Policies” that pertain to events there. This is the only relevant portion I can find:

So, I’m not sure where the bottle that hit the cop came from; if it came from inside the auditorium, that was a violation of UIC’s policy.

Having spoken to friends who were there, people were searched thoroughly for banners and signs on the way in, leading to speculation that those with banners inside the auditorium were plants from Team Trump.

So, no, your assumptions are not correct. In this particular case, at least, there were no attempts made to prevent protesters from attending or protesting. Not even asking nicely.

I did not mention a specific event or even a specific candidate’s name in my question; I would like to see it answered in a similarly broad, general manner.

The only thing I know (from news reports on CBC that has no reason to lie about this) is that in recent Trump rallies, the audience has been asked to raise their right hands and swear to be Trump supporters. Nothing was said about ejecting people who refused (although that seemed to be implied, but nothing was said).

More broadly, but touching on the UIC policy linked above, a candiate holding a private ticketed event can ban things “that might jeopardize the safety or viewing/listening enjoyment of the guests”. That means they don’t have to let protesters use bullhorns, loudspeakers, etc… in the name of free speech. They do not have to let protesters onto the stage the candidate is speaking from.

Even if the speech is at an otherwise public venue (say at a park) laws regarding disorderly conduct may still be relevant. Assault and Battery laws certainly apply as well. Your right to protest ends at my nose. Whether any protester who was merely verbal would be prosecuted or simply removed from the event is another question altogether.

Even protest on a public sidewalk can result in convictions for disorderly conduct if the protesters ignore lawful orders, block doors, or block the sidewalk to other pedestrians.

I just learned from another thread that there’s a pretty clear law against disrupting any presidential campaign rally if the candidate has Secret Service protection. But that is a very recent law (2012), so I still wonder what the law was before that, and what it would be for, say, a gubernatorial or senatorial campaign.

How is thoroughly searching people for banners and signs not an attempt to prevent protesters from attending or protesting?

Do you mean that everyone who speaks out, against those that own (or rent, occupy, etc) the place, will be arrested?

Or, are these persons allowed to speak, but do it quietly, as long as no one can hear them?

Do you understand that what you propose is fascist?

I am not a lawyer, but I do not see how that law applies to political rallies. The law specifically refers to “knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions.” Political rallies are neither government business nor official functions. Also, I think it would be difficult to argue that a political rally where the public has been invited to attend is taking place in a restricted building or ground.

I believe the purpose of this law was to cover things like the President’s vacation home, which could be private property, or attending a state funeral - it may not be the White House, but the same rules apply.

This is GQ, but if you come find me on a more appropriate thread I will be glad to respond (obviously I disagree).

You come into a steakhouse and start yelling “Meat is Murder!” then the proprietor can tell you to leave. If you refuse you can be arrested for trespass.

You enter a steakhouse and quietly make the rounds to the tables telling each customer that “Meat is Murder”. The proprietor can still tell you to leave and have you arrested for trespass if you refuse. Period. The owner/renter of a private venue can impose restrictions on the speech he/she will allow.

Abortion clinics do not have to let pro-life protesters inside their clinics to speak to their patients. Stores selling fur coats do not have to let in animal rights protesters. And politicians do not have to permit in protesters to their private events. It is not fascist to insist that the owner/renter of a private venue can exclude those who specifically intend to disrupt their business or event.

Never mind, **Iggy **covered it!

If the owner asks them to leave, and they don’t leave, yes, then he can call the police.

But this is not what SlackerInc proposed. And this is not what we see in real life. We see the “security guys” jumping on the people who dare to speak out against those that held the event. And that is fascism.

And of course, you can’t exclude someone from an event because you are absolutely certain that they are going to say the wrong thing.
I, too, am certain that you are going to park your car illegally, someday, so here is a parking ticket.
(guilty until proven innocent :wink: )
That’s fascism, too.

Hospital are “special” places. Churches (places of worship), too. Military camps, also. Different rules apply there.

It’s an attempt to prevent banners and signs from attending. Which I appreciate, because they wreak havoc with sight lines.

As WreckingCrew mentioned the law only applies to government business and a political rally is not government business.

Here is the DOJ’s opinion on it. Since they are the ones who would bring charges this is pretty much the final word on how the law you cited is interpreted:

It’s The Persons private event. The tickets are free (that’s important). The tickets get you in, but you can be asked to leave someone’s event on private property anytime, for any reason. It’s like going to a house party. You were invited, now you’re not because I decided I don’t like you anymore. The Person could kick out his supporters and let just the protesters stay if he wanted.

Trump, generally, treats it like heckling. You heckle a comedian, you get asked to leave. The majority of the people came to hear Trump speak, he removes people who try to disrupt that. He can remove people he even thinks will try and disrupt it.

You’re not trespassing until you’ve been asked to leave but you refuse to leave. As long as you don’t commit any crimes you should just be escorted off the property.

That’s generally the law. How The Person uses/enforces it is up to him. It puts the security (mostly off duty police in uniform - another confusing factor) in an awkward position of not really having an explanation of why they are kicking someone out. The Person asked the security he’s paying for to do it, that’s it.

I’m a big supporter of private property rights, and on my property only I enjoy Free Speech rights, you do not. If you step onto my property, I can tell you exactly what you’re allowed to say and exact what you are not allowed to say. If you disagree, you may leave my property.

If you say this is fascist, then we’ve a very large number of fascist in this country. Typically, supporters of Candidate A will not allow signs supporting Candidate B on their front lawns. Perhaps it is correct to frame this as fascist, but I think absolute monarchy is a better concept. I, and I alone, regulate speech on my property. When I pass on then it will be my oldest son who becomes the absolute monarch.

The problem isn’t that The Donald is saying hateful things, the problem is that people are voting for him in no small numbers.

In most parts of the country, rules of common courtesy apply and the police will enforce orderly conduct.

But Chicago has been known in the past for corruption, police being paid off, etc. I guess nothing has changed there? Glad I don’t live in Chicago!

(They also have all sorts of silly building code rules which pad the pockets of contractors - again paid off politicians.)

FYI - All about Chicago corruption…

Political history of Chicago…

King: Chicago’s police department is most corrupt in the country…

Crooked Code…

Chicago cops corruption has never been in support of protesters. Quite the opposite.

So in the case of Trump the cops were on his side. They even told Trump they could handle the protesters.

Trump chose to not speak on his own.

Are you sure you’re understanding the claims correctly? I’m not seeing people claiming that it’s okay for protesters to exercise their free speech rights in whatever way they see fit, if that expression involves illegal activities.