The Neglected Right of Assembly

48 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2010

See all articles by Tabatha Abu El-Haj

Tabatha Abu El-Haj

Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law

Date Written: January 22, 2010


This Article considers changes in both our understanding of the constitutional right of peaceable assembly and our regulatory practices with respect to public assemblies. It shows that through the late nineteenth century the state could only interfere with gatherings that actually disturbed the public peace, whereas today the state typically regulates all public assemblies, including those that are both peaceful and not inconvenient, before they occur, through permit requirements. Through this regulatory shift, and judicial approval of it, the substance of the right of peaceable assembly was narrowed. The history recounted in this Article is significant because it provides insight into the democratic and social practices the right was intended to protect - insight that cautions against collapsing the collective right of assembly into the individual right of free expression.

Keywords: First Amendment, Right of Assembly, Peaceable Assembly, Protest, Demonstration, Permit Requirements, Democracy, Legal History

Suggested Citation

Abu El-Haj, Tabatha, The Neglected Right of Assembly (January 22, 2010). Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law Research Paper No. 2009-A-04, UCLA Law Review, Vol. 56, No. 3, 2009, Available at SSRN:

Tabatha Abu El-Haj (Contact Author)

Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law ( email )

3320 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States


Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics